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Letter from a soldier in the 33rd OVI; undated, but published on June 12, 1862


Mr. Editor:
     Since the commencement of this war we have heard a great deal in reference to the manly bearing and bravery of many officers and men in the Union army. and I beg leave to state a few facts concerning the bravery and daring of some of our neighbors and friends who have gone forth to defend our rights and Government. Capt. Montgomery left Gallia county about ten months ago, with a brave little band of "Gallia boys." It was dark times then, but the patriotic friends calmly bade them farewell.—Our hearts swelled with pride to know that they were willing to die for our dear country, and yet many a mother's voice trembled as she pronounced the cheering words, "God bless you;" many a wife and sister strove to conceal their grief as the spartan band of cherished ones left their homes; but they did not go down-hearted, they were going to answer their country's call, and they went with gallant tread and smiling faces.
     Those gallant boys, as well as their Captain, have distinguished their names by deeds of valor and courage. They have marched through Kentucky, and Tennessee, and some distance into Alabama, and still seem eager for the word forward. Since entering the service there has been no cause for blot nor blame to rest on this company, every order has been obeyed to the letter. Onward they have gone in a course of duty, building bridges, wading through mud and rain, through water deep and cold, but never a murmur or complaint. They seem to have but one aim in view, and that is the restoration of the Union. If there is a difficult task to perform, Co. F is called on, and they never refuse; no, they are not the boys to shrink from duty.
     Not long ago Gen. Mitchell heard the rebels were re-building the burnt bridges up close to Stevenson; he sent the 2nd Ohio, Col. Harris, upon a train to see if it was so. He also called on Col. Sill for a Captain and 65 men to take charge of an express train to act as rear guard for Col. Harris and keep the road clear. Col. Sill thereupon detached Captain Montgomery and 45 of his company, with 20 of company A, all under his command. He reported himself to Gen. Mitchell, who gave him instructions and told him to take command of the train immediately and proceed up toward Chatanooga [sic] until he overtook the 2nd Ohio, and report himself to Col. Harris. The General would allow him but one car, and therefore about 15 of his men had to get on top of the car. They left about an hour before dark, and shortly after it began to rain and blow and was very cold. They overtook the 2nd at Smithsville, about 16 miles from Stevenson; they had concluded to remain there till morning. Capt. M. reported to Col. Harris, who ordered him to keep running up and down the railroad from 15 to 20 miles till morning. Capt. M. asked him for a larger car, that all his men could be sheltered, but his answer was, you might as well be wet as my men. Nothing was to be done but to obey orders, therefore Co. F was scouting on the railroad all that long dreary night. At length daylight came, and Col. Harris moved forward. Capt. M. followed about 12 miles in the rear; after arriving at the bridge and finding no rebels, Col. H. wrote a dispatch to Gen. Mitchell and sent it to Capt. M., with orders to carry it to him forthwith.
     It was now 8 1/2 o'clock A.M. with nothing to eat all night, and 60 miles from Huntsville. If ever an engine snorted twice at once it was the one Capt. M. was commanding. He had steam up from 110 to 140 pounds.—They arrived atHuntsville 15 minutes before 10 o'clock, and delivered the dispatch to Gen. Mitchell. He was conversing with three Southern leaders when Capt. M. entered his tent in haste, his face black as dry cedar smoke could make it, with a blue overcoat dripping with rain, entirely concealing his uniform. The following conversation took place:

General.—What do you want, sir?
Captain—General, I have brought you that dispatch.
General—What dispatch, sir?
Captain—One from Col. Harris, sir.
General—Why, the train has not come yet, has it?
Captain—Yes sir, or I would not be here.
General—Why did not Capt. M. report to me in person?
Captain—I am here, sir.
General—Indeed, I did not recognize you. How come you so wet and black?
Captain—Standing on top, outside the car, sir.
General—Why did you remain outside?
Captain—Sir, the car would not hold us all, and I chose to remain with those who were outside in the rain and cold.
General—You did not remain out the entire night?
Captain—Yes sir, I never set my foot inside after leaving Huntsville.
     Here the General proceeded to read the dispatch. After reading he took out his watch and meditated a moment, he then addressed Capt. M.—Sir, it appears that you brought this dispatch 60 miles in less than 80 minutes; also, that you and part of your men have been out in the rain during the night. I therefore release you from further duty at present. You can return to the regiment with your men, with the compliment of having fulfilled my orders to the letter. Bidding the General good day, Capt. M. with his men returned to camp and ate a hearty breakfast about 11 o'clock—Now, Mr. Editor, isn't this the right kind of a Captain and company? Many other acts of bravery I could mention, but fearing to tire your patience I will close.
     More anon.

The Gallipolis Journal
June 12, 1862

[This is an excerpt from a letter from Capt. Montgomery to the family of Addison Gardner. It was then given to the Journal for publication by friends of the deceased. N. Elvick]

Camp Taylor, Huntsville, Ala., April 27th, 1862

Mrs. P. Gardner:—
     Dear Madam: It is with the utmost painful regret, I find it my duty this evening to apprise you of your loss.—Your son, Addison, is no more. He died this evening on board a train of cars, on the way to Huntsville, when about three miles from camp. He had been one of a guard at a bridge 16 miles east of this place. To-day a train passed the bridge with Gen. Mitchell, whom the boys saluted by "presenting arms," when Addison purposed to set the butt of his gun on a stringer of the bridge below him; but the hammer struck a sleeper and the gun went off; the ball entering his abdomen, passed along the left side, and came out near the center of his left shoulder. He lived until dusk, sensible to the last, and told his companion, Shenks, to take charge of his things.—He appeared to be in no trouble, giving full direction for the disposal of his money, &c. In answer to one of the boys present, he said he felt well; called for water, took a drink, and expired without a struggle. I assisted to clean and dress him in full military uniform. He was one of the best soldiers in the Regiment, and he stood high in favor with his mess. He will be buried tomorrow in the church-yard at Huntsville, with military honors. His name, Regiment and State will be put on his head-board. It is impossible at this time to send him home. The last act of his life was one of duty and respect to his commanding General, and I believe he died happy and contented. He was in the service eight months. Hoping you may be comforted by the good Lord, I remain,
     Your Sympathising Friend,

The Gallipolis Journal
July 10, 1862

Camp near Anderson Station, Ala., August 11, 1863

Mr.—— Dear Sir:——
     From appearences I do not think we will move upon Chattanooga for three or four weeks, yet we may sooner. The health of the troops here is very good. The entire Army of the Cumberland is in fine condition, and why East Tennessee remains in rebel hands, is something I "can't see." I may be impatient, but it appears to me to be a burning shame upon us to permit the loyal sons of East Tennessee to be forced into the rebel army by the murderous cut-throats of the South, when we could afford them relief and protection. I long to hear the "bugle sound"—Forward for East Tennessee and Georgia.
     I was truly glad, but not surprised to hear of the fighting qualities of the Gallia county militia. After Morgan had taken Jackson, I offered to (and did) bet high that he would not take Gallipolis. Time proved that I was right. I felt confident that if he went into our county seat, he would go in as a prisoner, not otherwise, unless he went in over the fallen bodies of the loyal and patriotic citizens of old Gallia. I for one feel proud that I hail from a county that has sent more than her full quota of men to the field to assist in putting down this damnable rebellion, all of whom have proven themselves ever ready to meet armed traitors upon the battle-field, and who have won imperishable honors in this great struggle for freedom and nationality, and whose citizens in the hour of danger, instead of fleeing from a heavy force of the enemy who had rode [sic] through Indiana and Ohio, rallied under the Stars and Stripes in the might and strength of Patriotism unsurpassed in any age, and not only drove the foes back from our homes, but actually followed up and helped to kill and capture the thieving, traitorous invaders of our State. Such noble actions speak in language too plain to be misunderstood, that you will not only sustain and stand by the veterans who are contending with the hosts of treason at the cannon's mouth, but if necessary, will vie with us in deeds of daring and bravery to sustain and preserve the honor and pride of our glorious Nation. It nerves our arms, it is cheering to our hearts to know this. No county of our noble State can boast of having done more (according to men and means,) to preserve the Union than "old Gallia." My hopes and expectations are that her present bright and honorable record will never receive a blot by any cowardly or disloyal act of her soldiers or citizens. It is true we have some peace men in Gallia, but I am inclined to think the greater part of them "know not what they do." They (copperhead-like) have "went [sic] blind" through the influence of old party prejudice and ignorance combined. Having learned to sing the old song of "nigger" and "abolitionist" while the Democratic party was under the thumbs of the very men who are now the leaders of this hell-bred and hell-bound rebellion, and who if possible, would move the heavens and earth to overthrow and destroy the Government of Washington and Jackson, these copperheads appear to think that it is their duty to continue to sing the same old song, although the yelping curs have been repeatedly spurned and kicked from the door-yards of their Lords; but they continue to howl the old tune, with the new chorus of free speech—constitutional liberty—arbitrary arrests—military despotism, &c. Looking through the dark film or cataract of treason, they imagine every act of the Administration to be tyrannical and despotic, but in their blindness "can't see" that this great rebellion is unconstitutional; that the rebels are in arms against the best Government of earth; that their every act is subversive of free Government; that they are governed by no law, save the despotic will of their tyrannical leaders; that their great aim is to crush true Democracy or Republicanism forever in this land of ours; that the few may rule the many. I do hope that many of their eyes may open, that they may "see" aright before next October, so that they may not disgrace their State and county, and bring everlasting dishonor upon themselves and children by casting their votes for the "jack" of all "asses"—C. L. Vallandigham (of Canada.) He ought to have been constitutionally dealt with at the "end of a rope" months ago. This nomination for Governor of Ohio by a party calling themselves Democrats, was an insult to every true Democrat, every soldier, and every loyal man, woman, and child of Ohio. I would to God that he, like Judas of old, might be so wrought upon by the great spirit of truth and justice, that he might behold himself as his records will place him in records of future history of this great Nation, as one that betrayed his trust, his people, his party, and his country in the dark hours of our terrible struggle with armed and hellish treason; that he might be so troubled in mind with a guilty conscience, that his perjured soul would find no rest day or night, until he would make a fearful Sam Patch leap over "Niagara Falls," and give his last demoniac yell amid the roaring of her mighty waters. His traitorous voice would be hushed forever; his guilty soul to the future abode of the Southern Confederacy, would find its way with lightning speed; his body, which now encloses his traitorous and corrupt heart would become food for (and poison many) fishes.
     You will please forgive me for writing so lengthy a letter, at least "two feet" longer than I intended when I commenced it. Receive my thanks for past favors. Give my respects to all inquiring friends. I am, as ever,    
     Truly your friend,
     J. H. M. Montgomery

The Gallipolis Journal
August 27, 1863

[This is not a soldier's letter, but is an article from the Journal inserted here because the casualties listed were from this regiment. N. Elvick ]

Thirty Third Regiment

Co. F. killed, none; wounded, Capt. J. H. M. Montgomery, John U. Davis, missing; Ezekiel Goodrich, Lafayette Hawk, Hilas R. Johnson, John M. Cain, Archibald Stewart, James H. Sheets, Isaac Call, Edward Kennedy. Missing, Sergeant James H. Geist, Corporal Russell Pyles, Jordan Chafin, John P. Donelly, Stephen Gates, Thomas M. Hall, Wm. Pyle, John Patton, Wellington Ross, Archibald Shiflet, John Thevenin, John Gillespie, John Wolf.

The Gallipolis Journal
October 15, 1863

[The Battle of Resaca was fought in northern Georgia, about 40 miles south of Chattanooga, Tennessee. It was one of several engagements between the two sides as Sherman's troops were moving toward Atlanta. It was a hard fought battle that ended with a Confederate withdrawl. N. Elvick]

    The numerous friends of Lt. Col. J. H. M. Montgomery, and Co. F, 33d Ohio, will be interested in the following list of casualties, which occurred in that Regiment on the 15th of May at the battle of Resaca. The colonel himself was slightly wounded, and his old Co. F lost two killed, three wounded. The regiment as usual being in front had to charge across an open field, that did not require more than ten minutes to do, but so terrific was the fire of the rebels that 56 officers and men were shot, 21 of whom have died. The brave Lt. Col. it is well known has gone into this war not for honor or gain, but because he believed it to be his duty. Where danger, death, and destruction are found, there you will find him leading his men, as at Resaca, to victory. We expect further particulars by mail.

Lt. Col. J. H. M. Montgomery, slightly wounded.
Co. A, killed—Michael Shields, Francis M. Rhodes. Wounded—A. J. Orin, dangerously; James Montgomery, severely; James Welsh, slightly.
Co. B, killed—Henry C. Bryan. Wounded—Sergt. J. H. H. Kelly, severely.
Co. C, killed—Lieut. E. J. Higby, Francis M. Carter, William Blake. Wounded—W. H. Roberts, severely.
Co. D, wounded—David Burnshire, severely; James Dawson, severely; George Hyfield, slightly; Alex. Wilson, slightly.
Co. E, killed—Milton J. Peters, John W. Mitchell; wounded—Sergt. John O. Smith, dangerously; Washington Lair, slightly; Joe Lindsey, slightly; Jas. W. Price, severely; Elijah Tidd, severely; W. C. Daniels, slightly.
Co. F, killed—John White, Charles F. Schaffer. Wounded—Sergeant Samuel F. Halley, severely; Chas. Gates, severely; Hugh P. Halley, mortally.
Co. G, killed—Henry Mercer, James W. Browning, John Hurley. Wounded—Sergt. Adam Toops, severely; John Crabtree, severely; Wm. Vince, leg amputated; Peter Hurley, dangerously; John Rhodes, slightly; Francis M. Johnson, slightly; Lewis O. Briant, slightly; Jas. H. Williamson, slightly.
Co. H, killed—George W. James, Jno James, George O. Connor, Thomas H. Chavalier. Wounded—Capt. T. A. Minshall, slightly; Samuel Huffman, slightly; Benjamin Heskitt, slightly.
Co. I, killed—Capt. Wm. M. McKean
Co. K, killed—Lot Frippin. Wounded— Sergt. Samuel Watt, dangerously; Theodore A. Childs, severely; Nelson S. Gray, severely; John Peebles, severely; John F. Stoneburner, Wm. Wilson, severely; Leander J. Calvin, slightly; Lucius H. Mears, slightly.
     Since the above was in type we have received a letter from Co. Montgomery, giving the list as published. He states that his wound, in the fleshy part of the thigh, as being much better; that Samuel Halley has rejoined the regiment, and that T. M. Halley and H. P. Halley were both getting well. As we observed, Lt. Col. Montgomery was in command of the regiment and in the front. Col. Moore is still at Nashville, and is presumed to be safe.
     Col. Montgomery says: Our loss was sustained in a charge upon the enemy's works. I am proud to say the 33d Ohio did its whole duty. The new recruits of the regt., without a single exception, behaved most gallantly, while the old veterans as usual were at their post. We have driven the enemy from their strong position, and they are falling back towards Atlanta and Rome. We are following them up, and our advance is now at Calhoun. Our loss has been severe, probably 3,500; the rebels lost about the same, including prisoners taken by us. Don't think there will be much fighting this side of Kingston. Very few stragglers coming in from the rebel army. Our division is in fine condition, and all are anxious to be in front in the pursuit of the retiring foe.
     Yours truly,
     J. H. M. Montgomery, Lt. Col. comm'g 33d Regt. O.V.I.

The Gallipolis Journal
June 2, 1864

[This is the Battle of Atlanta which occurred on July 22 and was a Confederate defeat, but the seige of the city continued and it wasn't until Sept. 2, that the city was fully occupied. The burning of Atlanta occurred as Confederate troops on Sept. 1, set fire to the military facilities as they retreated. N. Elvick]

Headquarters 33d O.V.V.I., 1 mile north of Atlanta, Ga., July 22, 1864

Mr. R. L. Stewart.—Dear sir
     Since I last wrote you I have been in front all the time and you will see by (the) enclosed list that I have lost 18 more of my brave boys, besides five others that fell today by sun stroke and exhaustion, we having constructed five lines of works and drove [sic] rebel skirmishers two miles since 12 M. on yesterday and had fought in the battle of Peach-tree creek day before and fortified all night before last.—I had my horse shot twice under me yesterday on skirmish line but not disabled. We are now in less than one mile from the corporation of the city, our brigade on the left of the R.R. There was heavy firing today toward our extreme left, and I think that in all probability the rebs have attempted to cross our left, but I hope they may receive the same treatment we gave them on the 20th when they attempted to cross our right. They acknowledge a loss of 7,000 killed and wounded among the killed was Gen. Stevenson. Our loss did not reach quite 2,000. The 14th and 20th corps, were attacked by Hardee's and Stewart's. I heard that Gen. McPherson was killed today. I think it is true and if so (we) lose one of our best generals. I think that we will have Atlanta soon, probably Sunday or Monday next. I am in much better health than I was a short time back, but officers and regiment are nearly worn out and need rest badly. I think one brigade will be relieved tonight and put on the reserve to rest. We have been in the front lines ever since the 25th of June, with the exception of three days. A little rest would help us but I would like to get into Atlanta as soon as anybody. The loss of Lt. Campbell is a severe one, both to Co. F and the regiment. Old Gallia never sent a better, braver, soldier to the war. I will give you his military history soon. He has been by my side in every fight where I commanded Co. F and at his post since. I expect to hear of another call for troops soon, and if there is I am very anxious indeed to get some volunteers from old Gallia.
     List of casualties in 33d O.V.V.I. since we crossed the Chattahoochee river, on skirmish line, and in battle near Peachtree Creek, Ga.

July 18th, Co. G, wounded, privates Wm. A. Hedrick, arm, severely; John W. Henry, head, slight
July 20th, Co. A, wounded, privates E. Dowdna, arm, flesh; T. J. Walden, shoulder, severe; R. W. Borew, slight, foot
Co. F, wounded, corporal Isaac Call, seriously, right arm amputated
Co. G, wounded, privates Samuel Dalton, leg, severely; J. E. Beltzer, leg, slightly
Co. K, wounded, Private Robert Alexander, head, mortally
July 21st, Co. A, killed, Private Ed Lozier; wounded, Corp. Lewis Spriggs, arm, slight; privates L. J. Wood, shoulder, severe; J. T. Dilly, arm, severe; Edward Powers, arm, severe
Co. F, wounded Lt. F. M. Campbell, left side and bowels, mortally; Corporal Wesley Campbell, left arm broke(n); Private Thomas J. Bacus, head, slightly
Co. E, wounded, Corp. H. J. Hudson, leg, very severely
July 22nd, Co. B, killed, Private Joseph J. Parker
     J. H. M. Montgomery, Lt. Col. Comd'g

The Gallipolis Journal
August 4, 1864

Officers' Hospital, Lookout Mountain, Tenn., October 16th, 1864

Dear Sir:
     In order to let you know that I still "live," I write you a few lines this evening. I am now able to eat my "rations" three times a day, but can hardly walk across my room yet. I am very weak. I came very near coming home in a "box" this time; I was taken with pneumonia Sept. 14th, and the Doctors say that my strong constitution was all that saved me. My right lung (which proved to be "damaged" by that rebel bullet) became badly congested and "shut off" my breathing to a great extent. The fact is that for two weeks I suffered a thousand deaths. If I do not get a relapse I have the prospect now of getting well (sometime) I hope soon so I can take command of my regiment again. I have done my share of fighting (if it was going that way) but while I have health and strength, and an armed rebellion exists, I will be found in the field. I will not resign and go home to make Copperhead speeches like some have done. The old cowardly traitors, I hope they may catch the seven-year itch. and get inhabited with all the kinds of lice in the world, lose all their "greenbacks" betting at faro, and die beggars.
     Well, I hear good reports from Gallia; guess you went strong for the Union; Cincinnati Commercial says 1,000 majority in the county. I hope it is more. Hope Bundy beat Hutchins badly. I hope to be home to vote for old "Abe." I never felt so anxious about an election in my life. I am sure if Lincoln is elected the war will not last a year longer, if McClellan should be it would be war for four years anyway. Any man who votes for McClellan and that peace platform votes a tory ticket—a real rebel ballot. Such men should be sent into the rebel lines where they could not enjoy the privileges of the Government they work so hard to destroy. If I had them to deal with they would not fare as well as they do under Lincoln. He allows them to abuse him and the Government, and at the same time enjoy all the privileges that loyal people do. There must be a stop put to this or by the "Eternal" somebody will be hurt. Soldiers will not permit it much longer, and as soon as the "tottering" Confederacy dies we can turn our attention to the revilers of our country and flag in the North and west. I would rather shoot Vallandigham, Long, Vorhees, Pendelton (2), Woods, etc. to-day than a conscript in the rebel army; I would do my country more good. By the way I received a letter from _______ yesterday with a list of drafted men, among whom was [sic] my old friends Dr. Hannon and brother, together with many other "Butternuts." If I did not feel "bully" I am not capable of telling my feelings. I hope they will have to go (but not in the same crowd with the Union men that were drafted.) Well as my letter is to you perhaps "provokingly" long already, I will "halt." Receive my thanks for many past favors, and believe me to be,
     Truly yours, &c.,
     J. H. M. Montgomery

The Gallipolis Journal
October 27, 1864

Transcribed by Eva Swain Hughes

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