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Letters from the 91st Ohio Voluntary Infantry

[The 91st OVI was organized at Ironton in August 1862. The following letter was written during their 1st expedition up the Kanawha Rivler Valley from Point Pleasant. This letter was written by Pvt. James W. Miles.
N. Elvick]

Camp near Pt. Pleasant, Va., Oct. 19th, 1862

Ed. Journal:—
     At last the tedium of inaction has been broken. Something new, something long desired, seems to have been inaugurated. Can it be a forward movement? We shall see. All is life and animation now. Tents are being struck, and already the work of destroying such property as cannot be removed has commenced. But we are not to move till morning, so the ground with nothing to shelter us from the chily frost, must be our resting place to-night. But we are going to move, and all is good cheer. Many are the conjectures as to where we are about to go; some suppose to Kentucky, others up the Ohio, and others up the Kanawha, all having good reasons for their beliefs. We settle down upon the conclusion that it matters not, we are in for it now, and we must learn to wait as well as conjecture. Little is the sleep that many of us enjoy on account of the many more who are too jubilant to rest.
     Oct. 20th. Morning comes. Its earliest streaks have scarcely appeared till the order come to be ready to move. 'Tis a welcome mandate. The humming of 3000 voices mingled with the crackling of burning barrels and boxes, and the glare of the conflagration, produces upon the spectator not accustomed to such scenes, a sensation of something wild and fantastic. "Fall in," is the cry, and now we have slung knapsacks, shouldered arms, and are in line of battle. Now we are doomed to wait under our heavy burdens, suffering not only from the pains of the body, but from an excruciating suspense till the whole brigade is ready to move.—The sun is getting higher and higher, still we are on a stand march, as the boys say when we don't march at all.—We move a short distance and are stopped. Suspense continues. At length we are permitted to move without interruption, and that suspense is relieved. We turn up the Kanawha. Soon all begin to feel that traveling under knapsacks is not of little moment, and to some whose shoulders have for a long time been unused, it seemed almost intolerable. We march about twelve miles to-day, stop near two farm houses, one of which is Union, the other not, and upon these "hangs a tale," simple and unadorned—a matter of fact. I'll tell you: Some three weeks ago, Jenkins, with some 200 of his men, encamped near said houses.—The disloyal family, of course claimed and received protection from the hands of Gen. J. from the dispoliation that Southern soldiers visit upon the property of the loyal; but forgetting that retribution is sure to follow close upon the workers of iniquity, they informed upon the loyal house, and the banditts [sic] were permitted to plunder and destroy whatever they choose [sic], leaving them in a state of almost utter destitution. On our arrival, the boys were informed by the sufferers of what had transpired; a delegation, self-constituted, was not long in visiting upon them such punishment as they justly deserved, viz: The appropriation of every chicken, turkey, pig, and duck, as well as all the wine, fruit, honey, &c., they had. They plead [sic] loyalty, but they were too well known, and their pleadings were in vain.
     Oct. 21st. At noon we are on our way again.—We reach Buffalo, the scene of our first skirmish, are met with the sweet smiles of its fair ones, and submissive countenances of its lords, but "the smile of a woman ever was deceitful," (only true in Dixie), and even men look submissive when they must. We bivouack just above town, eating for supper such food as our haversacks afforded. Went to bed on the ground, slept but little; it was so cold. We consoled ourselves that we had not seen hard times yet, that we would be doubly blest if we never suffer greater inconveniences.
     Oct. 22d. It must not be forgotten that in the "platform" of the 91st, one plank was generally conceded to be fixed and immovable, viz: That the property of rebels should never be the object of its protection, nor in any manner by it held sacred. This plank has become a special feature of the regiment, and the day of miracles must again come before it can be removed. It is enough to say that when there is an abundance of forage by the way, and that owned by rebels, the boys will not want for rations. We march at 2 o'clock P.M. When at Red House, it was ascertained that a squad of Cavalry was lurking in the neighborhood. A scheme is concocted for their capture. Good if carried out as intended. But somebody is always a little too fast or somebody else is a little too slow. The 34th O., and the 4th Va., were the forces selected for the work. The 34th took a route through the hills in order to get above them and attack them in front, while the 4th should close up on them, when the work would be accomplished. But the latter was too eager and chased the game out of the trap. It is not possible to give an idea of the boys' chagrin at their failure. The rebels having disabled the bridge at Red House by sawing the timbers, the artillery were unable to go farther. The infantry counter-marched and camped just below.
     Oct. 23. We move up the river about two miles; come to a camp lately occupied by the rebels. Here must be observed the fact that the rebels are a shifty race, rendered so doubtless by their poverty. For tents they have constructed pens, covering them with straw and brush. When they move they are unencumbered by trains of baggage. Hence their poverty is an advantage. (I didn't mean to be logical.) The cavalry brought in two prisoners to-day, one a Lieutenant. They acknowledge themselves surrounded, and say this is their most favorable point of egress. Their force is said to be about 9000.
     More anon,

The Gallipolis Journal
November 6, 1862

[The author is unidentified, possibly he didn't want his identity known because the letter has a critical tone to it towards his superiors. N. Elvick]

Mr. Harper:—
     I always like to read the "Journal," and have ever taken a warm interest in its welfare. In this inhospitable region we don't often get to see it, except when sent by our friends, though it is generally a week old before it reaches us. Yet, oh, how welcome it is even then to hear of old familiar names once more. But why is it that we can find in your paper nothing relating to our Army on Kanawha? Surely we are entitled to a passing notice, and if nothing else will bring it about, I will write myself. It is too bad that our regiment cannot have a word from you, if only to tell our friends at home that the "ninety-firsters" are still within the pale of civilization, but very close to the dividing line. I think you might say at least that —— that ——. Well, I declare, I started out with the intention of "blowing you up" for saying nothing about us, or the army on Kanawha, and find I have run out of "small talk" myself. And now I begin to think of it. What have we done as an army worth talking about? It won't take long to tell. It is comprised in the word, nothing. At one of the war-meetings last summer in Gallipolis, we were told by one of the "exhorters," your Assistant I believe, that we need not fear getting into active service, that we would be sent up Kanawha merely to hold it, &c. Well, I hardly believed it then, but I tell you now it's true every word. We are in Kanawha merely to hold it. It don't [sic] seem as if there was any intention to do anything else. Everything looks like going into winter quarters. Some boys of other regiments now here, who wintered in the Valley last year, say things are going on just like they did last year, only "a little more so."—The secesh are most outrageously let alone, and my short experience satisfies me that on the whole, it is a "leetle" safer to be secesh than Union in this region. Some of the boys have had to return a lot of horses, hogs, cattle, &c taken from secesh, by order of the Commanding officer—which don't [sic] go down very well with many from whom the secesh stole everything. We were told that a new policy was to be pursued as we went up the Valley, but thus far I have not seen it. No one looks for it under present rule. Of course, I must not, nor do not speak disrespectfully of the "powers that be," but merely say that we have done nothing as yet, toward crushing the rebels, and for all practical results, might as well have staid [sic] at Point Pleasant.—When we do anything, I will let you know.

The Gallipolis Journal
December 4, 1862

Camp near Fayetteville, Dec. 24th, 1862

Mr. Harper:
     As I do not claim to be a newspaper correspondent, you will not expect much of a letter from me, but as I never see anything in your columns about the army of the Kanawha, I will endeavor to give you a short description of what is going on. The town of Fayette was once a nice, quiet little place, before this cruel rebellion broke out in our land, but now, like a great many other places, it is desolated, and the buildings are used for military purposes. Gen. Scammon occupies the finest and largest house for his headquarters, some are used as warehouses, some for stables, blacksmith shops, sutler stores, and various other purposes. The weather has been very cold, with some snow, but now is very mild. We had a fall of rain last night, and the roads are in a bad condition for traveling. We are building winter quarters; some of which are done and the rest will be ready to move into this week. We have very comfortable quarters and plenty to eat, such as it is. We have coffee, crackers and pork for breakfast; crackers, coffee and pork for dinner; pork, crackers and coffee for supper, and occasionally, rice, beans and fresh beef. We are very well satisfied to get that much, and amuse ourselves as well as possible, some working on their quarters, some washing, some cooking, some playing ball, some reading novels, some cleaning up their guns, some reading the news of Burnside's exploits, Banks' expedition, &c., occasionally some of the boys, just for a joke will run out and call "Letters for Company A, B, C, or D," to see the boys flock round, all anxious to hear from their friends and sweet-hearts at home; but alas they are deceived. Occasionally, a deserter from the rebel army will come into our lines, and tell a pitiful tale about their army being barefooted, and how they are starving, and very destitute, and can't hold out much longer; then there is a chance for an argument among the boys, some prophecy [sic] that the war will be over by spring, then they will bring up the long talked of Richmond for a subject, and discuss the question over and over, then they will say if General Burnside could only take Richmond, the war would be over. I think if the war is not over before next harvest, some of the white gloved, red tape gentlemen had better throw up their commish, and let some private take command for a change, then I think the rebellion will be crushed. We are lying here, you might say, doing nothing; only holding the valley, and guarding General Scammon's headquarters and a few old houses, with nothing but the laths and plastering sticking to them. For my part, I can't see what there is here to hold; it is a large expense to the Government; it takes a number of trains to supply us here; our horses and mules are dying off for want of roughness. Why not move us back on the river where they can supply us?—We can hold the valley as well there as here. I don't consider myself very much of a General, but for my part would not give 15 cents for the whole country this side of the salt works. If any man can tell me the use of keeping an army out hear [sic], would like to hear from him. But enough of this. There is considerable talk among the boys about furloughs. One will come in and say the Zouaves are getting furloughs, and I wonder if we shall be allowed any when we get our winter quarters done? I would like to go home Christmas and New Years, to partake of a roast Turkey, or any other man. I would like to have the home pets, formerly called the "Cheese heads," out in this wooden country; I think they could learn a little about soldiering. They are in America, where they can eat wheat bread. I used to soldier in Gallipolis myself. I belonged to a Company formerly called the Feather Bed Company, or door yard rangers.
     We are glad to see a copy of the Journal in camp once in a while, to hear what is going on in old Gallia. The boys are all well and hearty as bucks. All quiet at Fayette.
     A Soldier

The Gallipolis Journal
January 8, 1863

Camp 91st Reg't. O.V.I. Fayetteville, Va., Jan. 14th, 1863

     The officers of the 91st Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry recently presented to their worthy Colonel John A. Turley of Portsmouth, Ohio, a beautiful and highly ornamented sword costing $100.00 and finished with appropriate devices and inscriptions. Adjutant John J. Longbon, of Jackson, Ohio, made the presentation speech. [Followed by the text of a lengthy presentation speech and a long acceptance speech.]

The Gallipolis Journal
January 29, 1863

[Lemuel Zenas Cadot died 6/29/1885 and is buried in Mound Hill Cemetery. This link will take you to two obituaries.]

Fayetteville, W. Va., Jan. 19, '63

Mr. Editor:
     Allow me on behalf of the members of my Company, to tender through the columns of your paper, our heartfelt thanks to the kind friends who have lately so appropriately remembered us with such a lavish supply of "good-things" from home. It is useless to say they were most highly appreciated. The donors have the soldiers' blessing, and may the Dispenser of all good bless them too. The boys are all in good health and fine spirits. Lieut. Irwin deserves great credit for the admirable manner in which he did his part. Every box was brought through safe.
     L. Z. Cadot, Capt. Co. A, 91st Reg't. O. V. I.

[The writer here is Corporal David W. White of Company A. He died 8/21/1917 and he is buried in Calvary Baptist Cemetery in Raccoon Township. His obituary can be viewed here.]

Camp Fayette, Va., Jan. 26, '63

Mr. Harper:—Sir:
     As I don't often see anything in the Journal about the 91st, I will try and give you a little sketch of their location and proceedings, just to satisfy the many friends we have in old Gallia. Well in the first place, we are very comfortably situated and well housed for the winter, and enjoying ourselves as well as soldiers could in this poor God-forsaken country. I can say the same old thing—all quiet at this place, but not a few days ago, we were ordered to clean up guns and provide ourselves with three days' rations. We all supposed we were going out on a little scout, but alas! we were sadly disappointed, we did not get to go. When the word came that there was a scout on hand, all wanted to go, well and sick, notwithstanding that it was snowing and raining. There are not enough butternuts out here to make soldiering interesting, but we may see plenty of them yet before spring if we don't fall back to the river, which I hope we will do, for I can't see any military advantage to keeping us out here. It is an awful expense on the Government and will still be more, as the roads are getting very bad, and of course they will have to be kept up, so they can supply us with provision, which keeps them busy now. We have some very good fortifications, and Lieut. J. L. Williams is superintending the erection of another breastwork, which will be very formidable when completed. It is to the right of the old ones and will have command of a large scope of land, it being on a high hill. I don't think we can be driven out of here now as easy as our forces were driven out last fall. I cannot for a moment think that the great principles of American liberty will be crushed down by those demons in human shape, and slavery and anarchy substituted, just to gratify the desires of a few demagogues who desire nothing less than eternal punishment. We must conquer them, and we will do it if our commanders will let us. I think we are getting aroused up to our sense of duty. Though we soldiers have a hard task, we will do it willingly if those that are left at home will do their part, that is keep down the notorious Vallandingham Democrats that we hear are about to rebel. I would like to be sent down with a little squad to clean out old Gallia of such stock as that, if there is any there, but I hope there is none in our county. I don't like the idea of being disgraced by them. The weather is quite warm for this time of year, and has been for several days, and I am sorry to say is having a bad effect on the health of the men. I notice there is more sickness in camp now than there was when it was cold. The health of this Regiment is very good, and has been ever since we left Portsmouth. We have not lost a man since we left Pt. Pleasant. Major John R. Blessing is a particular favorite among all the men and officers. So is Col. John A. Turley.—I don't know what this Regiment would do without him to command it.
     Yours, respectfully,
     D. W. White

The Gallipolis Journal
February 12, 1863

[Charles Creuzet James died in July of 1922 and is buried in Mt. Zion Cemetery in Green Township. His obituary can be viewed here.]

Camp near Fayetteville, Va., March 1st, 1863

Mr. Harper:
     Permit me to drop you a few lines to let you know how I am getting along in the Army. I have enjoyed very good health ever since I left Gallipolis, and I believe at the present time, good health is prevailing throughout the whole Regiment; however there are some who are unable for duty. The Gallia boys are all well and in good spirits. When I enlisted I was satisfied that it was my duty to go and fight in defense of my country, and I possess the same spirit to-day that I did then. I am willing to do my duty, and if nothing else will do, I will give my life a sacrifice for my country. I think that we have splendid officers, and those that we can trust.—There is Capt. Cadot, one among the best of officers in the Regiment; he treats his men like gentlemen. There is not a man in his Company but likes him. Our Lieutenants are both splendid fellows. They are just the right kind of men to command a Company, and when the time comes for us to fight, we will not be found lacking. We came out to fight, and we will fight as long as we have Colonel Turly [sic] to command us. We need not fear, for he will not rush us into danger unless he is sure of success. I think he is a splendid man. We have just exchanged our old guns for new ones—the Springfield Rifle.—They are very nice guns, and if used right will do good execution. We have fine times here this winter, but expect to pay for it when spring comes. If there is any fighting to be done the 91st Regiment will not stand back.—'Tis true we have done no fighting as yet, but old Gallia has some brave sons in the 91st. We are aware there are men even in Ohio who are sympathizing with the South, but they will not amount to much, and we intend to whip the rebels in front first, and then send some of the brave boys back to settle the North. I never will be satisfied until every traitor is punished, and I trust that every son old [sic] of Gallia possesses the same spirit. This is a matter that should concern every man. Just think, what would this Government be worth if the South should gain their independence! We are determined, while there is one drop of blood in our veins, never to let such a thing come to pass.
     Please give this space in your paper, so that my friends will know where I am, for it is impossible for me to write to all. I receive your paper every week, and it is a welcome visitor.—Long may the Journal continue to stand, and may it ever continue in its good work.
     Chas. C. James, Co. A 91st Regiment O.V.I.

The Gallipolis Journal
March 19, 1863

Camp Gauley, 91st. Reg. O.V.I., March 21, 1863

Mr. Harper:
     Allow me space in your paper to address the citizens of old Gallia. The Gallia boys are all well, and we have little sickness in the 91st, but we have to lament the severe illness of our gallant Major John R. Blessing, who is highly esteemed as a gentleman and officer by the entire regiment. He is at present improving. We received orders on the 15th to march from Fayette C.H. to Gauley, and the first day we reached the camp of the 89th O.V.I., where we remained the first night, and the next day reached our present camping ground.
     We learn from home that the copperheads are finding fault with the manner in which the war is conducted. How long since these scoundrels were boasting about fighting for the d—d negroes, as they called them, and as soon as the Government talked of arming them, they cry out I won't fight by the side of a negro. No danger, for such cowards won't fight by the side of any one who is willing to put down the rebellion. Let me give these scamps a little advice, and that is, they had better keep their foul mouths shut, for if they don't they will be marked, and when we get through with the rebels in Dixie, we will attend to rebels in the rear. We have left our homes to endure the hardships of a soldier's life and uphold the Constitution and restore the Union, and we will do it, perish every one of us in the attempt. If the Union men at home can't keep down the God forsaken copperheads, we will return and do up the job in "double quick," for we would as soon shoot a copperhead as any other rebel, and a little rather, for of the two we think a rebel in arms is the most honorable, if any honor can be attached to either of them. Those copperheads style themselves Democrats, but they are no such thing, for a true Democrat stands by the Union and the Constitution, and old Abe, for he is the right man in the right place.
     A Good Union Democrat, 91st Reg. O. V. I.

The Gallipolis Journal
March 26, 1863

[This letter probably came from someone who was not a soldier, or at least not yet. There was no one in this regiment by this name but there was a John A. Martindale in the 141st Ohio Infantry, which was organized for a three month period only from May 14 to September 3, 1863. which served in this area. However, it was after the date of this letter. He may have been with the 91st regiment in a non millitary capacity. N. Elvick]

Camp Reynolds, Va., March 20, 1863

Mr. Harper:
     Allow me to say a few words through the columns of your paper, which is a special friend of the soldier. After remaining in camp near Fayetteville for more than three months, on the morning of the 15th inst., orders came to pack up. We were little dreaming of such a thing then, but by noon every soldier was ready with knapsack slung. Soon the large and respectable column was formed upon the parade ground, waiting the welcome command of its gallant leader—"right face; forward march." So by the following day we arrived at Camp Reynolds, near the falls of Kanawha, and were soon engaged in arranging our household furniture. This camp is a very pleasant one.
     The boys are all in good cheer, still looking onward and upward, and true to command; still achieving, still pursuing, and drilling to the manual of arms. Each one with willing mind to become as perfect in that art as shall enable him to wield manfully the gun and sword in defence [sic] of our sacred trust and honor. Come what may, in honor of our fathers, let us imitate their action and support in defence [sic] of the noblest Government ever instituted by man. Our leaders are men of firm mind and fixed determination, ever willing to vindicate the glorious cause for which they have set out. We are also eager to announce (like the 81st Ohio), that we heartily endorse this clause, viz:

That we want every man, woman, and child in Ohio, to know that we are opposed,
bitterly and forever, to treason in our midst, in our front, and in our rear.
     Our fathers fought seven years to establish this Government, and we shall not grow weary in well doing, and if need be we will fight three times seven years to protect our homes and for the maintenance of this glorious Government.
     Jno. A. Martindale

The Gallipolis Journal
April 2, 1863

[George D. Curry died 10/24/1878 and is buried in Pine Street Cemetery.]

Camp Gauley, Va., March 30, 1863

Mr. Harper:—Sir:
     I beg leave to say a few words through the columns of your paper in behalf of the Gallia boys. They are all well and doing well, and I am glad to say that most of them are good soldiers. I understand a report is in circulation in Ohio, that the 91st have to live on parched corn. Let me say to the friends of the 91st, it is one of the basest lies that ever came from the lips of man. We have always had plenty of crackers and coffee and good meat, and I will assure you while we have that we will not starve. I think some of the Butternuts at home are telling such stuff to discourage our friends at home—I can hardly think that a good Union soldier would tell such a lie. There is no danger of us starving while we have Col. John A. Turley with us. I would say to the Copperheads in old Gallia, they had better lay [sic] low before they get themselves in trouble. I hope we will not hear any more such lies from old Gallia.
     George D. Curry,
     Corporal Co. A, 91st Reg. O.V.I.

The Gallipolis Journal
April 16, 1863

[Isaac Willcox died just three monts after this letter on 7/19/1863. It isn't known if it was combat related or if he died of disease. He is buried in Staunton National Cemetery. N. Elvick]

Camp Gauley, Va., March 3d, '63.

Mr. Harper:—Dear Sir:—Having received numerous letters, of which the following extract is a specimen, I concluded to answer them through your paper, by your permission. These letters are from friends in Gallia and Meigs counties:

Salem Centre, Meigs co., O., March 22d, 1863

"I seat myself to write you a few lines * * *It is reported here that you have turned to be a rank Butternut Democrat, and I want to know the truth about it. The Democrats here are rejoicing over it a good deal. They know that you were such a true man here. * * * But I cannot believe it till I hear it from you."

How such a report got in circulation I cannot tell, but I will say that it is false. I never was, nor ever expect to be a Democrat of the present political creed. There may be a time when I will turn Democrat, but it will be when Democrats cease to lie and defraud the public, when in office; when they become loyal to the Union and laws of the United States, and when honest men can be found in the party, to control the affairs of the State and nation, when elected to office, then there might be a possibility of my turning Democrat. I am in favor of a vigorous prosecution of the war, and of using any means necessary to put down this unholy rebellion. If it is necessary, take all the property of rebels—land, slaves, and all. I do not think the slave of a rebel is worth any more than the life of a loyal soldier, and this is the sentiment of the officers and men of the 91st Regiment O.V.I.
     Yours truly, Isaac Willcox,
     Private in Company B, 91st Reg't.

The Gallipolis Journal
April 16, 1863

Camp Reynolds, Va., April 15, '63

Editor, Gallipolis Journal:
Dear Sir:
     At the request and on the behalf of the officers of the 91st Regiment, O. V. I., I forward for publication, the following Preamble and Resolutions which were read before them, and unanimously adopted:
Whereas, in the Providence of God, our worthy Major, John R. Blessing, was, on the 10th inst., removed from us by death, therefore

That in the death of Major Blessing, we realize the loss of a kind and gallant officer, a true patriot, and an honest and confiding friend.
     2d. That we shall ever be proud to imitate the sterling qualities and exalted virtues exhibited in the Major's life, and we do warmly sympathize with his bereaved family and numerous friends, on account of his lamented death.
     3d. That a copy of these proceedings be sent to the family of the deceased, and that one copy be sent to the Gallipolis Journal for publication, with the request that it be copied by the papers in all the counties in which the regiment was recruited.
     Wm. D. Burbage,
     2d Lieut. Co. E, 91 Reg't O. V. I.

The Gallipolis Journal
April 23, 1863

Camp Reynolds, April 20, '63

Mr. Harper:—Sir:
     Enclosed you will find one dollar, for which I want you to send me the ever welcome Journal. We can't do without it up here. It is always hailed with pleasure in the 91st Regiment. We like its doctrine. We know it is all right. Can't be otherwise while "Jim" is at the helm. Send for eight months, then I will renew my subscription. Send by the return mail, if you can.
     D. W. White
     R. C. 91st Reg. O. V. I.

The Gallipolis Journal
May 7, 1863

Camp Fayetteville, Va., June 3, 1863

Mr. Harper:
     Enclosed you will find one dollar, for which you will send me the Journal for the term of eight months, and if I am still living at the expiration of said term, I shall renew my subscription. I love the Journal, for its moto is "Truth and Justice," furthermore, if my old uncle had been taking the Journal instead of the Dispatch for the last three years, he might long since [have] known what the first clause was in the Constitution of the United States, without asking me the question. However, all copperheads are poison, and apt to bite in dog days. Send by return mail, if you can conveniently.
     Wm. Y. Wickline, Co. H 91st Reg't O. V. I.

The Gallipolis Journal
June 11, 1863

Mr. Harper— Dear Sir:
     Please state to those having friends in the 91st Regiment O.V.I., and wishing to send them donations, that they have now an opportunity. Packages must be well labeled and left at the stores of J. J. Cadot or E. Deletombe, before the 20th of December, 1863. If nothing happens, I shall leave Gallipolis for Fayetteville about that day, to enable me to reach the Regiment about Christmas. I shall use every effort to take through safe, all donations entrusted to my care, for the boys of the 91st. Jacob Kerns

The Gallipolis Journal
December 3, 1863

[It isn't known for certain which regiment this letter came from. The 91st OVI had been stationed here long term but when Brigadier General Crook arrived he would have been in charge of a brigade, which would have included from 4 to 6 regmients. However, it sounds as if the writer was stationed here before General Crook arrived. The Civil War database, "Civil War Soldiers and Sailors" lists seven infantrymen from Ohio with the first name of Claudius, but none were in regiments stationed in this area at this time. Sometimes men on that database were listed only by their first initial and sometimes these letters were signed with a pseudonym. N. Elvick]

Fayetteville, W. Va., March 12.

     The old saying "All quiet on the Potomac," as a general rule, would represent our condition here, though for some time past a review was in prospective and our minds were somewhat exercised over it. On the morning of (the) 9th, the stillness of the air was broken by the booming of cannon announcing the arrival of Gen. Crook and staff in town, and in a few moments the group came riding up to headquarters, unattended and with little show. The time was now occupied by the boys in fixing up for the review in the afternoon, and thinking what part "I" would perform and how "my regiment" would perform in the coming drama. At last the time appointed arrived, 1:30 P.M., and martial music filled the air; a little later troops were wending their way to (the) review ground, and formed in line awaiting the arrival of the general. In a short time this personage and staff arrived, attended by Col. White and staff, and the common programme gone through with. The troops presented a splendid appearance, notwithstanding their prolonged drill according to "Pick and Spade," instead of Hardee. The general expressed himself as well satisfied with the appearance of the troops and the condition of the post, generally. Of the various regimental bands present, all discoursed fine music, and their several regiments may well be proud of them.
     General Crook seems to be a general favorite with the troops here, and the common expression, "He's a right kind of a man, and that's what's the matter," conveys just what they think on the subject. Col. White, the commander of this post, is also very popular, and well is he entitled to the love of his command. He richly merits it. On the morning of the 10th, the General and staff left us to return to Charleston. Long may he wave. Since the review nothing much of interest has occurred, except the arrival of a scouting party, previously sent out to obtain horses, under command of Lieut. Blazer, of the 91st, with fifteen horses. Receipts were given the owners, so that those who prove their loyalty will get pay for the horses thus taken.     
     More anon.

The Gallipolis Journal
March 24, 1864

[Charles Creuzet James was a private in Co. A. Up until this time the 91st had not seen much actual combat, but they were soon to be victorious at Piedmont, Virginia and later at Cloyd's Mountain. N. Elvick]

Fayetteville, West Va., April 11th, 1864

Editor Journal:
     Allow me through the columns of your interesting paper to state a few things which may perhaps be of interest to many of its readers throughout Gallia County who have friends in this regiment.—Good health is prevailing in the regiment with the exception of a few cases of measles and small-pox. We have just returned from Summersville. We had a very hard march through the mud and rain, but we are all right again and ready for another move. It is thought that we will leave here soon and advance upon the enemy a little, that is we will move our lines a little further out. We understand that the rebs. have given us six weeks to get out of the valley; they say that if we are not out before that time they will help us out; well we will have to see them before they can scare us; they have tried it once before and failed, and the next time you hear from them they will fail. I do not think that they can drive us out of Fayetteville. We have good fortifications here and are able to hold them against any force they can bring in Western Virginia. I believe it is the general opinion that the war will close this summer, but it is hard to tell; the rebs are very spunky and they will hate to give up even after they are whipped but they might as well give up now without any more fighting, for we are bound to whip them entirely out, if it takes us fifteen years, for I know that we can fight as long as they can, and we are in a better humor for fighting now than when we came out. We will be very apt to get a trial at them before long, and you may rely upon it we will give them the best licks in the shop. Please give this space in your paper, so that my friends may know how I am getting along, for it is impossible for me to write to all.
     Yours Truly,
     Chas. C. James, Co. A, 91st Reg. O. V. I.

The Gallipolis Journal
April 28, 1864

[The writer here is George D. Curry, a corporal when he mustered out. It's probably pertinent to mention here that although this regiment had not been in any major battles to this point they would soon engage the enemy at Cloyd's Mountain, and later at Piedmont, and a little later would accompany Phil Sheridan's troops in their scorched earth sweep through the Shenandoah Valley. Towards the end of the war they would take part in the action at Petersburg, which was the last stand for the Confederacy. The regiment all told lost 3 officers and 60 enlisted men through combat and 3 officers and 87 enlisted men from disease.
N. Elvick

Fayetteville, West Va., April 19th, 1864

Mr. Editor:
     Permit me through your paper to pass away a few moments of camp life in trying to write a few lines to let the friends of Co. "A" know how we are getting along. The boys are all well except three or four sick now in the hospital. We have plenty of duty to do, and are kept drilling about six hours per day when the weather will permit.
     There are some Copperheads in old Gallia that are making themselves very uneasy about the 91st having good times out here, calling us cowards. I would like to know which are the cowards, the men who have left their homes and families and all that is near and dear to them, and gone out to fight for their country, and have laid down their lives a sacrifice for that good old flag which they have sworn to protect against all foes, or the men who have stayed at home, doing all they can against the Government, and soldiers who are fighting for your country and our country. The 91st have [sic] always gone wherever ordered, although it has never participated in a big fight, yet it's not her fault, it's the rebels' fault. When they would hear of the 91st approaching, they would take to the woods or some other better hiding place. If the Copperheads of Gallia think the 91st will not fight let them try her on once and they will quickly find out the boys have no sympathy for Copperheads, or traitors; they are all the same.
     We have as good officers as ever commanded a company. Capt. Neal you will always find with his boys either in camp or on a march, and Lieutenants J. L. Williams and E. E. Ewing you will ever find ready to help us to anything we need, ready and willing at all times; there is no "red tape" about them, they are always looking to the interest of the boys.
     Everything is quiet here now in a military point of view, but I think there is a good prospect at this time for things to take a change, and there will be something "did" in this department. There are a few "gray backs" coming in now and then to take the oath. They say "we want to go to Ohio State so we can get something to eat and wear, for Jeff. is about played out." The first question they will ask you is "have you any of Uncle Abe's coffee?" A young man out in this part of the country can purchase a wife for a pound of coffee and not half try.
     Yours truly,
     G. D. Curry, Co. A 91st Regt. O.V.I.

The Gallipolis Journal
May 12, 1864

Harper's Ferry, Va., July 27th, 1864

Ed. Journal:
     I send you a list of the casualties in the 91st O.V. at the battle of Winchester, 20th July, which probably you may have received ere this, but I am compelled to add a few more brave men to the list of Co. A. Lt. E. E. Ewing mortally wounded and in the enemy's hands; Gilbert Weed and James Lambert, both slightly. Lt. Ewing was a brave and efficient officer, and his loss is deeply regretted by all the officers and men of the regiment.
     Very truly,
     L. Z. Cadot

ROLL OF HONOR of the 91st O.V.I.
At the battle of Winchester, Va., on the 20th of July, 1864
     Killed: Johnson Young, pvt. co. F; Jonathan F. Hite, corpl. co. H; J. R. Wilkins, corpl. co. H; John Steel, pr. co. H; Daniel Short, pr. co. H; David W. Slagle, pr. co. H; Peter Pyles, corpl. co. K; John Lucas, pr. co. K
Wounded: Addison Houlsworth, pr. co. A, leg slightly; Thos. Daywalt, pr. co. A, leg severe; Morris G. Blazer, pr. co. B, thigh severe; Cleophilus Eno, pr. co. B, ankle severe; Robert D. Meal, pr. co. B, hand slightly; John W. Rockhold, Lt. co. C, leg severe; John Cullome, cp. co. C, foot and side; Geo. Bare, pr. co. C, shoulder; Laban Crabtree, pr. co. C, head slight; J. Mucklewrath, pr. co. C, head slight; Jeremiah Walls, pr. co. C, thigh severe; Frank D. Bayles, sergt. co. E, thigh severe; W. T. Knox, corp. co. E, knee severe; John Haggarty, pr. co. E, thigh severe; Edward B. Shultz, pr. co. E, head slight; W. F. Gray, sergt. co. F, side slight; Jas. H. Parks, corp. co. F, arm severe; Isaac Spears, corp. co. F, leg severe; Jas. Smith, corp. co. F, arm slight; W. M. Brown, pr. co. F, ankle severe; B. F. Kizer, pr. co. F, knee severe; Mike Monion, pr. co. F breast slight; John Monk, pr. co. F, hip severe; Geo. Monk, pr. co. F, face slight; A. Morris, pr. co. F, foot slight; Chas. Peach, pr. co. F, forehead severe; John Rigley, pr. co. F, hip and arm severe; Fred Barishahouse, pr. co. F, bowels severe; John Ross, pr. co. F, thigh mortally; W. b. Savage, pr. co. F, knee severe; John Wartinber, pr. co. G, shoulder; J. D. Laughlin, pr. co. G., head slight; Capt. S. Crossby, co. H, arm severe; Ed S. Wilson, 2nd Lt. co. H, shoulder severe; Eugene B. Willard, sgt. co. H, leg severe; J. G. Lane, sgt. co. H, arm slight; Johns S. Haines, sgt. co. H, lungs, since died; Jas. W. Day, corp. co. H, thigh; W. W. Robinson, corp. co. H, arms; [Parts of mames here omitted by a hole in the paper.] ?? Levisay, co. H, thigh severe; ? E. Payne, pr. co. H, thigh severe; John Levisay, pr. co. H, thigh and shoulder; Hiram Oliver, pr. co. H, elbow slight; A. J. Pratt, leg severe; J. Percfield, pr. co. H, side and ankle; J. Taylor, pr. co. H, foot severe; Geo. W. Willis, pr. co. H, ankle sev.; W. C. Washburn, pr. co. H, arm sev.; G. W. Armstrong, pr. co. I, abdomen; E. M. Hughes, pr. co. I, shoulder; Robert Palmer, pr. co. I, shoulder; Henry Downey, pr. co. H, hip slight; Jacob Eckhart, co. K, hip severe; John Trustone, pr. co. K, face slight; Jas. W. Miller, pr. co. K, hand. FOURTH VA V. V. I.
List of casualties at Winchester July 24th:
     Killed: Robert Hicks, pr. co. D; Lyman S. White, sergt. co. E; Geo. W. Nease, pr. co. E; Uriah T. Barton, sergt. co. B

Wounded: Lieut. W. H. Sisson, in arm, serious; Lieut. Allan Bloomfield; John S. Birch, pr. co. F, leg serious; Perry Graham, pr. co. D, face serious; Ephraim King, pr co. I, ankle slight; Thos Dean, pr. co. I, thigh severe; A.F.M. O'Brien, pr. co. C, leg slight; Ed. C. Brown, corp. co. E, side severe; A. Reynolds, pr. co. H, leg slight; H. Hammond, pr. co. H, head severe; H. J. Chapman, corp. co. G, arm; Jas. Moler, corp. co. B, arm severe.

The Gallipolis Journal
August 11, 1864

Letter from A. W. Langley to his father published with permission in the Journal.

[The letter was written by Andrew W. Langley. The battle referred to here was the Battle of Cedar Creek. As described in the letter below, the Union army was surprised by an early morning attack and initially retreated and had much of their artillery and many of their supply wagons captured by the rebels. The commander, General Phil Sheridan was about fifteen miles away in Winchester and had actually just returned from a trip to Washington, D.C. As he rode toward the sounds of the battle he met up with the retreating soldiers. He rallied his troops and a new defensive line was made. Later in the day they drove the rebels back, recaptured the lost wagons and artillery, and captured the rebels own supplies. There were over 10,000 casualties counting both sides. This was a major Confederate defeat and ended any military threat they had possessed in the Shenandoah Valley. This Union victory was a major factor in Abraham Lincoln's victory in the 1864 presidential election which was held in the following month. N. Elvick]

Camp near Cedar Creek, Va., Oct. 21, 1864

Dear Father:
     I suppose before this reaches you, you will have heard of the great battle of the 19th inst., but thinking that probably a few lines from me will allay your uneasiness at home, I'll begin: The rebs, fifteen thousand strong, under command of General Early, surprised us in camp before daylight in the morning of the 19th, by a part of them dressing in our uniform, and relieving our skirmishers who thought they were the relief. They were then taken prisoners, and the rebels marched in line of battle into the 1st Division of our command, and captured one battery, which they turned on the camp, and charged at the same time, waking the boys up, capturing or killing them. This raised a stampede. The first division ran through our camp, which was aroused by this time. The rebs at the same time charged into the camp of the 19th corps. We just got up and dusted without any breakfast.—(Our Regiment being cattle guard, had a little start of the rest. We just made the cattle fly through the fields.) We fell back three miles before we could get a chance to form a line. We done [sic] it and checked the rebels, who by this time had twenty-six (26) pieces of our own artillery playing on us. The 91st kept going. We met Gen. Sheridan at Newtown, coming from Winchester as hard as his horse could go. He stopped and asked a few questions, and told us to go three miles farther, halt, and form a line to stop stragglers. He then started on, saying he would drive the rebs back or die. He came to the front, and rode along the lines, telling the boys to fear nothing, stand firm, and he would make the enemy sleep on their own side of the creek that night, if they sleep at all. The boys cheered all along the line, long and loud. He rode with his cap off, shot and shell flying thick and fast about him, but none struck him. Major Cadot sent two companies on to Winchester, with the cattle, and started to the front with about a brigade of stragglers. We got up in time to see the fun.—About 2 o'clock the rebel lines began to waver. The cavalry were ordered to charge the rebel position, which was behind a stone fence. They were repulsed twice. The infantry then charged with a line of artillery, and started them. The cavalry were then let in, and the fun commenced. In the meantime, Gen. Powell's division of cavalry went up the Luray Valley and came into the Shenandoah at Brown's Gap. They got into the rebel works at Fisher's Hill, and laid [sic] there until we drove them across Cedar Creek, when they attacked them in the rear. This caused them to take to the mountains on each side. They had to leave their artillery and train. The cavalry was still pushing them. The captures up to this time, is [sic] five thousand prisoners, fifty-four pieces of artillery, (besides what they took from us) and about two hundred wagons and ambulances, with all their horses and drivers. The loss on both sides in killed and wounded, is about ten thousand. We camped that night on the same spot we occupied in the morning. Next morning we found that most of our dead were stripped to the skin. Several were beat to death after being wounded. The prisoners were taken to Sheridan's Head-quarters to be examined. Everything they had pertaining to our uniform, and everything belonging to our soldiers, were [sic] taken from them. They grumbled considerably at the manner of proceeding. Some of them had to do without pants, others without coats. You see that when they came to one of our men that had good clothes (and there were a great many, because we drew clothing the day before), they just pulled off their lousy clothes and appropriated those that were on the dead.
Yesterday morning was very cold, and I went down to the rebel ambulance train—the rebs still driving.—I saw one thieving looking rebel, wrapped up in two large blankets, and looking very comfortable. There was one cavalryman for every team for guard. I stepped upon the other side, and told Mr. Reb I would trouble him for those blankets. He asked me if I wasn't joking. I then reached for his neck, and he found I was in earnest. So he handed me the blankets without another word. I just got away in time to escape the guard. The consequence was that I slept very comfortable last night. I think the campaign is over, unless Early or some other lousy rebel General sees fit to bring us down some more artillery, in which case, we will receive it. The cavalry are beyond Newmarket still picking up prisoners. Lieut. Hamilton and company are well, so is [sic] all A, myself, too.—Give my love to all. Write soon. Believe me,
     Your affectionate son,
     A. W. Langley
I also captured a fresh supply of Staunton tobacco.

The Gallipolis Journal
November 10, 1864

[Not a letter, but a noteworthy news item.]

Promotions in the 91st O.V.I.
     Major L. Z. Cadot to be Col., Capt. S. Crossly to be Major
     1st Lieuts. to Capts.—Mr. D. Burbage and Thos. W. Rose
     2d Lieuts. to 1st Lieuts.— Mr. M. Belcher and E. S. Wilson
     Sergts. to 2d Lieuts.— Lewis D. Hall, Isaac H. Neal, Henry B. Woodrow, and Vincent Radcliff

The Gallipolis Journal
January 5, 1865

[The writer here is Caswell Martin, who entered the army as a private and mustered out as a corporal. He was 42 years old at this time. He died in 1875 and is buried in Mound Hill Cemetery. At this point the 91st had essentially completed its active combat role and would be serving guard duty for the remaining two months of the war. N. Elvick]

Martinsburgh, Va., Feb. 10, '65

Mr. R. L. Stewart:
     Dear sir, seeing in your excellent paper several communications from soldiers, and believing you to be the soldier's friend, I thought to drop you a few lines; and state what my ideas of the management of the war, is [sic]. Having served over two years and a half in active service and been in several battles, I think I am competent to know what a soldier's duty to his Government is. When I read of so much rascality and fraud as is going on now in our Northern states, I think that all the vile retches [sic] do not live in the South.
     It appears from accounts which we daily read that there are hundreds of men who have made fortunes cheating the Government. And more that they either go unpunished or escape with slight punishment. When I think of all this, and then the privations, hardships and dangers which the good soldiers have to bear, and the treatment his family receives often at home of their anxiety and care, and sometimes want. I think if there was one drop of disloyal blood in our veins it would show itself. When I read of our defeat at Bull Run and that our army had to retreat from Richmond, and that President L. had called for men to punish those rebels. I thought and still think it was every patriot's duty to join the army for that purpose. Accordingly I not only entered it myself, but permitted my son to go in also (who has made a very good soldier, having always been with the regiment, and performed his duty well.) When we entered the service we were making money at the rate of 65 dollars per month, we entered for 26 dollars a month, with the promise that if we served full two years honorable we should receive one hundred dollars bounty. It appears now that men must have one thousand dollars before they will consent to serve their country for one year. And a part of that has to be raised by taxing soldiers property at home. With the present high prices, soldiers families find it hard to subsist except they have other means at command. We have to cut short our expenses in every way possible. You will recollect that I had to order the Journal stopped last November, in order to curtail expenses. Our pay comes unregular [sic], I have not been paid for over twelve months. But the regiment has been paid twice in that time. The first time they were paid I was in the convalescent camp at Harper's Ferry, I did not improve much there with the treatment I got, and asked leave to go to the regiment, which was granted. Soon after, the battle of Winchester took place, and I was wounded and sent to Philadelphia Hospital; and from there I went to the camp of distribution at Washington. An officer there told me I could get my money if I could get a pass in the city. But says another official, that is the pinch; you cannot get a pass; so I have done without my money till now, and expect to till I am paid, without a murmur. Now I do not think that the Government intends to use soldiers in this way, but the men who have charge of the machine are to blame. In regard to our regimental matters, all is going on right. We have good officers who know how to use soldiers, the most of them have risen by their own merits, to stations of honor and trust. Gallipolis is very well represented in the 91st, we have Lt. Col. Cadot who is an excellent officer, and Major Neal, with whom none can find falt [sic], and Capt. John A. Hamilton, who has risen from orderly sergeant to his present position. I know of none who has performed his duty more faithful and prompt than he. We are guarding Martinsburgh and the Baltimore & Ohio railroad, our duty is pretty hard this cold weather, but the men perform it with cheerfulness. We have had our accoutrements turned over, and received new ones in their place. I think we will be able to give the rebels a hearty reception if they come in our reach.
     We are all well pleased with the conduct of our President to the rebel peace makers. Some thought he would bend to their wishes and make a dishonorable peace. But I have too much confidence in him for that, I suppose they were much disappointed in not being permitted to the Capital [sic]. But that suits us, we don't want any traitor near there on any consideration.
     The prospect for wiping out slavery in the United States, is very fair by an amendment to the Constitution, that will be one of the greatest events that ever took place in this nation, as it will do away with the cause of all our present troubles for ever. The people of Martinsburgh are loyal (there are very few rebels here), the people have trusted our boys with considerable in the way of tobacco and refreshments, till the pay master comes. We are expecting him every day.
Your Journal does not come very regular to those who take it in the 91st, I suppose on account of the hard weather, and bad mail system. The snow is 12 inches deep here, and the wind is very severe in this valley. I intend to do all I can for our country, during the time I am in the service. I would like to hear of many who I know could leave home and volunteer, and save our country from the dishonor of a draft for men forced to go in, do not make so good soldiers as those who go voluntarily. Colonel Cadot has arrived safe from home, and our wounded boys are coming in, having got well and ready for the rebels again.
     I remain yours,
     C. Martin, Co. B, 91st O.V.I.

The Gallipolis Journal
February 23, 1865

Martinsburg, Va., Feb. 12, '65

Editor Journal:
     Sir: Since I last wrote you, there has but little transpired in the Valley worthy of notice, and as for interesting news I have but little to relate. At present we are encamped at Martinsburg, eighteen miles west of Harper's Ferry, we left Winchester Dec. 28th, with orders to report at Parkersburg. We arrived here on the 29th, and expecting to take the cars, and soon be stationed along the border, but when we came here the order was countermanded, so we had to remain here. They marched us out into an old field behind a stone fence, and ordered us to stack arms, unsling knapsacks and build fires. There was not a particle of wood, nearer than one mile of our camp, and the snow was about eight inches deep, and so cold as to cause a great many of the boys feet to be frozen. As soon as the command was given to break ranks, every man shouldered his gun and broke for the town, and took up their abode there for several days, until we could cut and haul logs and build our quarters. The camp was left to be guarded by the officers (hole in paper) and a great many of them followed our example. We have (hole in paper) good quarters this winter, but not so good as they were last. Whilst our command is lying still others are moving. Troops from Gen. Thomas' command have been passing through here more or less for two weeks. It is supposed they are going to re-enforce Gen. Sherman, going round in the rear of Wilmington, it appears that they are preparing for another active campaign in the Spring.
     There has been a great deal said about peace, but I guess that it has all died away again, I do not think that they will make peace only by subjugation, for the rebs will not make peace save upon their own terms, and we never will submit to them. We will fight them till dooms-day, and several days after, but we will bring them under. We can keep up an army as long as they can and this is what we are going to do, we will show them that the Stars and Stripes, shall wave at last in triumph, in every State and town in the so-called Southern Confederacy. The citizens of Martinsburg are very clever and a great many of them bear the name of rebs, yet they are sympathetic enough to open their doors and welcome the Union soldiers in. All is quiet here now with the exception of small gangs of rebs, that keep bothering the rail road occasionally, they rob a train once in a while, but we have found them out at last. Instead of being rebs it is a gang of citizens but we are watching for them, and no doubt will soon bring them to justice. The boys are all well and in fine spirits. If the pay master would only give us a call now, we would be very thankful, greenbacks are very scarce, as we have not been paid for four months.
     Yours Truly
     Chas. C. James

The Gallipolis Journal
March 2, 1865

[The 91st stayed at Martinsburg from December 30, 1864 to March 17, 1865 and then moved on to Winchester, where they were when the war ended.]

Martinsburg, W.Va. Feb. 25, '65

Mr. R. L. Stewart: Dear Sir:
     Permit me through the columns of your valuable paper, to inform the friends of the 91st O.V.I. of our whereabouts this winter. We came to this place on the 31st of last December, began building winter quarters on New Years day, and in a few days, had comfortable quarters. Our duty here is pretty heavy, but the boys perform it cheerfully. We have nearly six months pay due us, and a few dollars of Uncle Sams "legal tenders," would be very gratefully received by the boys. We have heard some talk of the Paymaster, but he has not yet made his appearance. I think the Government should be a little more punctual about paying the soldiers. Many of them have families, who are almost entirely dependent on them for support. We who enlisted in the summer of '62, were promised one hundred dollars bounty, on being mustered out of the service, providing we had served two years, while those who now enlist for one year, must have from four to six hundred dollars. Now all this may be very just, but we "cant see it." A man enlisting in'62, for three years is certainly worth more than one enlisting now for one year, and yet the one year man receives four times the bounty of the three years man.
     I do not know how long we will stay here. I do not think we will remain idle, while the work of crushing this infamous rebellion remains undone. Each day brings additional news of General Sherman's triumphant march through South Carolina—Charleston, that hot-bed of treason, has been evacuated, and the Sodom of rebellion has again come under the rule of Uncle Samuel, after being under the traitors for nearly four years, and the old flag of the Stripes and Stars once more floats over the walls of Sumter. We now hold every Southern fort on the Atlantic coast, and blockade running in that quarter is at an end. The constitutional amendment abolishing slavery in the United States, will be the death blow to that institution, when ratified by all the States. The constitution will then be a guarantee of freedom, instead of slavery, to which it had been degraded, through party platforms and partisan decision. Then, the prime cause of our present troubles will be removed, and when peace again blesses our land, we need not be afraid of another rebellion on the account of slavery. Reconstruction with slavery will be, and is now, entirely out of the question. When we get peace let us also get a free country, guaranteed by the constitution. Such a peace will be a lasting peace, while a peace with slavery would continue but a few years, to break out again in a rebellion more gigantic than the existing one.
     The cowardly sneaking traitors of the North will no doubt make a great noise about the "violation of the constitution," as they term it. But they are decidedly in the minority, and can do nothing but croak. The Gallia boys are well, and ready to do their part, should the rebels prove troublesome. There is no enemy near here except a few guerillas.—This is the most loyal town I have seen in Virginia, there being very few rebels here. We have had some very cold weather here this winter, but it is much warmer now.
     &c. W.V.Vanzant, Co. B 91st Reg't .O.V.I.

The Gallipolis Journal
March 16, 1865

[Again, not a letter from a soldier, but an article pertinent to the 91st. Richard Blazer was put in charge of a company that became known as Blazer's Scouts. They were men hand picked from the 91st and other units. Their mission was to protect supply lines and to battle Confederate guerillas and they operated over wide areas of the Shenandoah Valley during General Phil Sheridan's Shenandoah Campaign in 1864. In November 1864, however, they were defeated by the Confederate's Mosby's Rangers as described below. N. Elvick]

     Capt. Richard Blazer of the 91st O.V.I. , after creating for himself a well merited reputation, as one of the most daring scouts in the army of West. Va., had the misfortune to encounter a superior force of Moseby's [sic] guerrillas [sic] at Cabletown in the Shenandoah Valley, on the 18th day of November, 1864, in which he was defeated and himself taken prisoner. His force consisted of 70 men all mounted. The rebels under Major Richards number(ed) 250, but were represented as not more than one third that number. Richards posted the greater number of his men in a ravine concealed from view, and with the others managed to draw Capt. Blazer after him until he arrived in front of those in ambush, when the whole party charged upon our men, killing 19, wounding and capturing 18. Capt. Blazer was robbed of $152 in greenbacks, of which they afterward generously returned him $12. He had a lot of Confederate scrip which they declined taking, stating it was of no use to them. It proved of essential use to the Capt. afterward as it enabled him to purchase provisions at Libby and Danville, without which he could not have sustained life. He exchanged his $12 in greenbacks for Confederate at the rate of one for twenty.
     After being searched he was furnished a horse and special guard to Richmond, his men being taken by another route and on foot. One day at noon the guards having Capt. B. in charge, stopped at a lawyers residence for dinner. He was a violent secessionist, and cursed the Yankees without stint. Capt. B. inquired what they had done to him, that he should be so bitter against the race. "Oh! He had lost one hundred and twenty niggers." "And how many had he left?" "About twenty." " Well, said Capt. B., you have just twenty more to lose," an idea that did not serve to console him by any means.
     On arriving at Libby, he was ordered to be searched, before being sent in, and knowing that it would end in being robbed of every thing, he quietly suggested to the officer in charge, the folly of searching a man who had been through Moseby's [sic] hands, to which he replied, "true enough, we never find anything left," and ordered him taken up at once. This was on the 22nd day of November, 1864. The Captain confirms the old story of the horrors of Libby prison. Bad as it was, it was a palace compared with the prison at Danville, to which he was removed on the 11(th) day of December. In this terrible hell, he remained without blanket or covering of any kind except his clothing until the 17th day of Feb. The room was so crowded that at night when they lay down, the floor was literally covered with men packed together as closely as they could lie. One small stove was their only fire in a room 60 x 40. In the month of January, out of 1500 confined in that prison 158 died. The rations furnished consisted of bread made of corn, ground in the cob, measuring about 6 inches by 4, and probably 3 inches thick, heavy, half baked and wholly unfit for food. Even for an ostrich, it would be difficult of digestion. Bad as it was, if enough of it had been furnished to sustain life, they would have been content. The piece we have described was all the food any one received for twenty-four hours. Meat was furnished twice only, during his stay at Danville. With his confederate scrip he could purchase articles of food from the citizens, of which there seemed to be no scarcity, clearly proving that it was not because of a lack of provisions that our men were thus treated, but because of a fiendish malignity, and settled determination to destroy the lives of as many Yankees as possible by starvattion.
     Many were shot for looking out of the windows, or getting over the dead line. Capt. B. saw two of our men shot dead for looking out a window. One day the Hospital steward hearing a noise below thrust his head out of a window to see what was the matter, when a sentry mistaking him for one of our men shot him dead. After that an order was issued to cease firing upon our men for that offence [sic].
     They robbed our dead soldiers of their clothing and valuables, before removing them from the Hospital. Col. Ralston of the 24th N.Y. cavalry was wounded in an attempt to break guard and died. The Hospital steward came into the prison in two days thereafter wearing the Colonels uniform. The Capt. has marked that fellow down, if he ever happens to cross his path, and will furnish him the short cut to eternity, without scruples of conscience.—Such barbarity deserves no compassion.
     From the foregoing statement enough may be learned of the sufferings of our brave soldiers in these terrible prisons, to arouse the indignation of every honest man in the North. The friends of those who have died there, may have some conception of the terrible tortures they endured, before death released them from the cruelties of their savage and implacable foes. When it is remembered that Capt. Blazer was comparatively well treated, we may imagine how those fared who had no money or friends. Whilst the world endures, the memory of this terrible crime against humanity and civilization will never be forgotten. The curses of every loyal mother or wife in this land, will be heaped upon the heads of the rebel leaders who justified their men in this atrocious villainy. Nor will the odium of this wickedness cling only to the Southern leaders. The base hearted, cringing knaves of the North, who admitted the truth of the statements published relative to the sufferings of our men, yet like subtle villains endeavored to cast the odium of it upon our own Government, and openly charged the President with being the cause of it, in (the) hope of operating on the minds of the relatives and friends of the soldiers among us, will also come in for a share of popular indignation. Toward them it is daily becoming more intensified and bitter. Lapse of time will not serve to mitigate the undying hatred, and loathing that will be found prevailing in the minds of all loyal men, as they see the victims of these satanic leaders, with broken constitutions and impaired health, living in torment through the balance of their lives, caused by exposure and starvation in the dens of Southern barbarians.

The Gallipolis Journal
March 23, 1865

[Not a soldier's letter, but a news article printed by the Journal as the 91st was on its way home to be mustered out. N. Elvick]

The 91st Ohio—Some Account of the Regiment

     The 91st O.V.I. passed down the river on Monday morning last, on their way to Camp Denison to be paid off and mustered out of the service, in which it has so nobly distinguished itself during nearly three years of the war. The 91st was raised in the counties of Adams, Scioto, Lawrence, Gallia, Jackson and Pike in the 11th Congressional District. Originally it numbered 980 men, and now returns with 780 men, 400 of whom are of its original force. It was organized at Portsmouth, August 22, 1862, under Col. Turley, of Portsmouth, who was wounded at Lynchburg, Va., and so disabled that the regiment has since been commanded by Col. Coates, of Mt. Union, Adams county, under whom it marched from the triumphs of battle to participate in the milder, but equally glorious triumphs of peace.
     The regiment was mustered into the United States service at Ironton, on the 7th of September, 1862, and took the field on the 12th of that month, joining the force operating in the Kanawha Valley where it remained during the remainder of that year, and through 1863, engageing [sic] in numerous marches and skirmishes in West Virginia and in the pursuit of John Morgan in Ohio. During the campaign of 1864, the 91st belonged to the 2d Brigade, 2d Infantry Division, Army of West Virginia, commanded by Gen. Crook. In May of that year it marched from the Kanawha Valley to the Virginia & Tennessee Railroad, destroying the bridge [torn paper] river, and returning to the Valley. In June it marched to Staunton, Lexington, Lynchburg, Salem, and back to the Kanawha. In July it proceeded by steamboat and railroad via Parkersburg, to the Shenandoah Valley, where it served during the remainder of the year, engaging in many hard marches and severe battles with General Sheridan's army. In the spring of 1865 the regiment was transferred to the Army of the Shenandoah, commanded by General Torbet. The list of battles in which the 91st has been engaged comprises, Buffalo, W. Va., September 20th, 1862; Fayetteville, May 19th, 1863; Blake's Farm, May 21st, 1863; Cloyd Mountain, near the Virginia & Tennessee Railroad, May 9th, 1864—at which battle the gallant Capt. Clark was killed; New Rover bridge, May 10th; Cow Pasture river, June 5th; Lynchburg, June 17th and 18th; Stephenson's Depot and Winchester, Va., July 20th; Winchester, July 24th; Martinsburg, the 20th; near Charleston, August 24th and 26th; Oqequon, or Winchester, September 19th; Fisher's Hill, September 22d; Cedar Creek, October 19th, 1864. This is a pretty good record, and the 91st may be said to have seen something of the war in earnest. Throughout the service both officers and men behaved most creditably to themselves and honorably to the American name. May health and good fortune go with them to their homes, and their days be many and full of happiness.

The Gallipolis Journal
July 6, 1865

For the Journal:
Mr. Editor:
     In 1862, when Companies A, and B, of the 91st Regiment were raised in Gallia county, we remember two or three dinners that were given by the loyal citizens of Gallipolis, and that you were left pretty much alone to carry the thing through. We have no recollection of any copperheads being present, or affording any assistance one way or the other. We went into the field, and for nearly three years have been doing service. In all that time we had very little encouragement from Vallandigham's friends in Gallipolis. Imagine our surprise on coming home to find that some of the leading Copperheads of the town were actively engaged in getting up a 4th of July dinner to welcome us home. Somebody was about to be cheated, we thought, but we had been too long fighting rattlesnakes down in Dixie to be caught by any Copperhead palaver after the war was all over, and no more danger of draft. We called to mind former dark days when men were wanted, and we found these very fellows doing all they could to discourage men from volunteering. It would have been quite in keeping if they had allowed us to return from as they allowed us to depart to the war, without any demonstration at all. But in Dixie the rebels are all now good Union men, so we suppose we shall have to allow these fellows to do as Mr. Breare said, wrap themselves up in the folds of the American flag, and ostensibly claim to be Union men. We know however that once stripped of it, they will be found at heart the same bitter malignant Copperheads they were in 1862.

The Gallipolis Journal
July 13, 1865

Transcribed by Eva Swain Hughes

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