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194th Ohio Volunteer Infantry

[Sergeant James C. Baxter is the writer here. He died 8/6/1908 and is buried in Old Holcomb Cemetery in Huntington Township. This regiment was organized at Camp Chase (Columbus) in March 1865, just about a month before the war ended. They were assigned to operations in the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia, and then after the fighting ceased were given garrison duty in Washington D.C. until October. This letter was transcribed with the original syntax and punctuation. The writer identified the regiment as the 294th, but it was actually the 194th. There were no combat related deaths, but 38 enlisted men died of disease.
N. Elvick]

Camp Oley, Charleston, Va., March 27, 1865

Ed. Journal:
     As the most of the boys belonging to our company, are from Gallia county, and a great many of their parents are readers of the Journal. I concluded to give you an ill-composed detail of our trip, and experience, as soldiers since we left Camp Chase, Ohio. But to go back a little farther and start from Marietta, Ohio, as a part of our company was mustered in there, by Capt. Levi Barber, Provost Marshal. Leaving Point Harmer on the morning of the 4th of March for Columbus. We had not gone more than twelve miles, till we had to get out of the cars and wade around a trussel work that had give way with the train due at Marietta the previous evening. An old trussel work had been filled up with gravel. The cars coming on it, it spread apart and the train sank in the sand. There was another train ready on the other side waiting to take us on, and so we spent the most of the forepart of the day, walking around bad railroad bridges, between Marietta and Hamden. I would as soon soldier a year in the Shenandoah valley as ride over that road.
     After leaving Columbus, we came by the way of Zanesville and Newark, to Belleair. There we drew our arms and accoutrements. There we crossed the river to Benwood, Va., 4 miles below Wheeling. We took the cars there and arrived at Fairmont, on the Monongehala river around noon. We crossed the river on the suspension bridge, as the recent rains had washed away the railroad bridge across the river. We marched up the river on the left hand side, about one and a half miles to where the cars connected on the other side of the river. There we biouvaced for the night. This was the first experience the boys had had sleeping without tents. But it was not long before the camp was illuminated with camp fires, of a neighboring fence. Early next morning a train was there to take us on our way east, passing Grafton that day. The next morning found us at Cumberland city, Md. There we met some of our old friends belonging to the 36th and 91st O.V.I. Leaving Cumberland city early that morning, we passed through Harper's Ferry, arriving at Charlestown that night. It being the evening of the 20th of March.
     Charlestown was once a gay place, but now sadly on the decline. I should judge from the magnitude of the place, it contained at one time two thousand habitants. There are some magnificent buildings, churches, as well as dwelling houses. Amongst the different places of notoriety, I visited, was the burial ground of the Episcopal church. It contains some splendid slabs and monuments. I also visited the spot where the notorious John Brown and his companions were hung. A locust tree once stood close to the place where the gallows stood, but it is taken away root and branch, by soldiers formerly visiting the place.
     The most of the people here are in favor of the Southern Confederacy, though kind and pleasant to our soldiers. War has made its mark in this part of the Valley, as no barns or fences remain. Yet the Valley has much the appearance it had in the summer of '62, as I soldiered here in Fremont's campaign, when he drove Stonewall Jackson out of the valley.
     Anderson McCook is Col. of our regiment, but I understand he is promoted to Brig. Gen., he is from Steubenville, Ohio. He was formerly Col. of the 2d Ohio infantry. Benj. Martin of Vinton, is Capt. of Co. C, Bob Carter of the same place 1st Lieut., and a man by the name of R. W. Morgan 2d Lieut. The boys are all jolly and gay, and enjoy themselves very well, some of them are having the measles. They are cared for as soon as it is discovered. The greatest complaint among the boys is, they have no money, when they were mustered into the service one third of their local bounty was held back, to be paid to them at Camp Chase. But when they got there, they found out they could not get it till after they were reported in the field. So you see we are all without money. There is quite an army massing here, as there are four or five regiments arriving here every day. The 195th O.V.I. arrived here yesterday from Camp Chase. I understand Capt. Cherington's company is in it, and Capt. Rutherford of Cheshire township, all diligently engaged in drilling.      Yours truly,
     Sergt. Jas. C. Baxter, Co. C, 294th O.V.I.

The Gallipolis Journal
April 13, 1865

Headq'rters Co. C, 194th O.V.I., Capitol Hill Barracks Washington, D.C., Sept. 26

Mr. Editor:
     We are here within two squares of the Capital of the nation, doing guard duty for the city, and it seems we are likely to stay the balance of our year. I enjoy myself pretty well, I attend the Wirtz trial every day, and if I have time I would like to send you a few notes in the case. We are not only trying Henry Wirtz, but the South is upon trial; and the Government has taken the bold stand that ever(y) particle of evidence that goes to show the barbarity of the South to our soldiers, whether emanating from Wirtz or not, must come out. The defense see(s) this and have many objections and nice points are raised, that is not reported. During the trial, at the recital of some poor emaciated witness I have seen almost the entire audience in tears. I saw an old lady from Maryland who came over forty miles to see the murderer of her son. She stood and viewed him for a few moments and then burst into a flood of tears, wringing her hands and denouncing him as a murderer. She was conveyed from the court-room amid the deep muttering of an indignant people. The prisoner has to be guarded by a guard of one hundred men, from the prison to the court-room, to prevent the victims of his malice from assassinating him. He looks pale and haggard, and I think if the Government does not hang him for a month or two he will become crazed or kill himself.
I was glad to see and hear that my old friend Bradbury, was nominated for the Senate, also Col. James Montgomery, there is no dissenting voice among the Union voters in our Regiment, and many that voted for Val will now vote for Cox.. Hoping to hear a good report from Ohio this fall, I remain
     your Ob't Servent [sic],
     Benj. Martin

The Gallipolis Journal O
October 5, 1865

Transcribed by Eva Swain Hughes