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Letter from Soldier in the 4th OVI

[This appears to be a misprint in the newspaper. This actually describes the 40th OVI, not the 4th. They went on from here to battles at Franklin, Tennessee, Chickamauga, Chattanooga and the Siege of Atlanta, but they were not with Sherman on his subsequent March to the Sea. This is not the William Topping who was in the 27th OVI and who is buried in Calvary Baptist Cemetery in Raccoon Township. The author of this letter became a first Lieutenant in Co. K, of this regiment He was wounded at Chickamauga on 9/20/ 1863. N. Elvick]

Camp Brownlow, Ky., 1862

Mr. Harper:
     I cannot fully believe that the pen is mightier than the sword, or at least it has not proved so in quelling this rebellion. Yet, notwithstanding this, I will ply my old steel pen vigorously while there is no foe near on which to use the sword. We have been doing some tall marching since we left Ohio. We crossed the river at Cincinnati, then went by railroad to Paris, Ky., from there we marched over the worst roads I ever saw to Paintsville, on Big Sandy river, a distance of 120 miles. We arrived here after a march of thirteen days, on the 8th of January. On the 9th, a detachment from the 40th and 42nd Ohio Regiments, and the 14th Kenrucky, were on the march again over the egregious hills in search of Gen. Marshall with his force. On the 10th, about grub time, we came across the old gentleman with his boys, who were ensconced quite snugly on a range of hills near Middle creek, about three miles from Prestonburg and twelve from Paintsville. We immediately prepared to fight them, although they had about two men to our one. We made the attack about one o'clock, and after a fight of five hours, we retired for the night. We lay on our arms all night; awoke early in the morning—went out to fight—when lo! we found no one to fight, for the cowardly rascals who were going to die in the last ditch had left the first one and had gone like a shot in search for the last one. We retired to Paintsville where we remained until the 9th of February, when we went on board the boats for Piketon, where we arrived in good time and commenced to make a new camp, which in honor of the brave old Parson, we call Brownlow. Since we came here we have been chasing the rebels over the hills, and sending those who were so unfortunate as to get into our power, to Ohio. As there is nothing of interest to write about, I will quit for the present.
     W. H. Topping, Co. K, 4th OH Reg.

The Gallipolis Journal
May 22, 1862
Transcribed by Eva Swain Hughes