John K. Duke.

History of the Fifty-third regiment Ohio volunteer infantry, during the war of the rebellion, 1861 to 1865. Together with more than thirty personal sketches of officers and men online

. (page 22 of 24)
Online LibraryJohn K. DukeHistory of the Fifty-third regiment Ohio volunteer infantry, during the war of the rebellion, 1861 to 1865. Together with more than thirty personal sketches of officers and men → online text (page 22 of 24)
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Lieutenant Starkey soon developed the fact that at least a
portion of the Virginia military spirit was coursing in his veins,
and that if ill-health did not interpose he would be a noted discip-
linarian ; but, notwithstanding the enforcement of discipline, he
gained the respect and confidence of his command and of his su-
perior officers, who soon learned that he was a man who could be
depended upon in any emergency. He left Ohio with his com-
mand February, 1862, and experienced his first shock of battle at
Shiloh, April 6th and 7th.

The commander of his company. Captain Wells S. Jones, was
promoted to the colonelcy of the regiment for his bravery, coolness
and military ability ; and Lieutenant Starkey, being the ranking
officer of Co. A, was elevated to the captaincy, and not wholly be-
cause of rank, but also for bravery displayed upon the field of

During the year 1863 Captain Starkey was serving upon spec-
ial detail as 'mounted infantry and was largely. instrumental in re-
cruiting the 2nd Tennessee U. S. Colored Infantry. On the or-
ganization of said regiment he was tendered the position of lieu-
tenant-colonel, but declined, preferring to remain in command of
the brave boys he had enlisted. During the same year he was
again tendered a promotion, that of brigade quartermaster. This
he also declined, for the reasons above stated.

Captain Starkey participated in all of the skirmishes and
battles in which the regiment was engaged up to and including
January 1st, 1864. the time of veteranizing.

If space permitted it would be a pleasure to recount the many
instances of heroism which could be related of Captain Starkey,
but suffice it to say that he was one of the bravest and best officers
in his regiment. He was a skillful drill master, a good disciplin-
arian, and had no superior as a commander in battle ; he was
brave, cool, and far seeing. His services were of great value to
his company and regiment.

See Page 293.

See Page 278.




See Pdse 23T.

See Page 2tiri.



Arduous duties and vio^orous campaignino liad made inroads
to such an extent on his physical system that Captain St-arkey was
compelled to tender his resignation May 1st, 1"). During all that time he was rarely if ever unfit for duty, or
at least he always reported for duty and did with alacrity whatever
was assigned him to do. He was a brave good officer and did
much toward helping to make a good name for the regiment."

The author simply adds that notwithstanding the infirmities
of age. Colonel Galloway did much to assist him by manuscript and



encouragement, which is here duly and gratefully acknowledged.
He made no statement that was not susceptible of verification.
His enthusiasm knew no bounds, as he was interested in having a
complete history of what he called "the best regiment that ever
shot a gun in defense of country."

May the Great Commander grant many years yet to the
brave, gallant Colonel and his aged companion, is the prayer of
the writer.





Dr. Fulton was born in Schenectady, N. Y., October 2r)th,
IS 10. His father moved to Ohio and lived in Cleveland during
the war of 1812, and afterwards moved to Athens County. He
studied medicine and was graduated from the Jefferson INIedical
College in Philadelphia, and commenced the practice of medicine
during the cholera epidemic of 1832 in Fairfield County. After
practicing fourteen years, he gave it up for mercantile pursuits,
and for several years conducted large coal works at Nelsonville.
Selling out in 1859 he moved to Greenup County, Ky. When the
war came on he conceived the idea that a regiment recruited from the
miners and other skilled workmen with whom he was acquainted in
the Hocking Valley, would be valuable as a pioneer corps. He went
to Columbus and laid his plans before Governor Dennison, who
approved them and authorized him to raise a regiment. On visit-
ing the Hocking Valley he found that a regiment had been re-
cruited there and the men he wanted had joined it, so he gave up
the idea and went home. After arriving home several business
men of Portsmouth, urged him to help raise a regiment there,
which he did, the 53rd O. V. I. Governor Dennison sent him a
commission as colonel, but he returned it, saying he was too old to
learn military tactics, and recommended that a younger man be
appointed colonel who would be better fitted to handle the regi-
ment, at the same time offering to go in any capacity where he
could do the most good. He thought he could handle transporta-
tion and was given a commission as lieutenant and regimental

At the battle of Shiloh he heard the first firing, and being ap-
prehensive of an attack, he mounted his horse and rode to the


front and saw the first men that were engaged. From them he
learned that it was an attack in force, which fact he immediately
reported to his brigade commander. He then got his wagon train
ready and moved it to a point of safety, losing only one wagon,
the team of which became nnmanageable nnder fire and ran away.
He then made himself usefnl wherever he conld, carrying orders,
rallying men, and taking them back to the line of battle, or any-
thing else he conld find to do. In the afternoon General Buell
sent for him at the landing and asked him if he could clear a road
up the bank so that Amann's brigade could land. The landing
was congested with wagons and stragglers so that it was almost im-
possible to get around but he soon cleared a road and the brigade was
landed and went at once into the battle. In his article in the
Century Magazine, General Buell mentions this and says he prob-
ably did as much as any one man there to make the battle a suc-
cess. He served with the army till the spring of 18(33. The win-
ter of 1862 and spring of 1863 were very wet and the army trying
to o-ain a foothold around Vicksburg almost lived in the water.
This affected his health so that he resigned and came home.

The State of Ohio throughout the war period numbered its
loyal citizens by the tens of thousands, but of all of our patriotic
citizens none perhaps were more intensely loyal than Dr. J. W.
Fulton. He had passed the half century mark, hence it can be
confidently asserted that he was acting advisedly and not impul-
sively in every movement. He was a man of few words, but
every action voiced patriotism with the ultimate desire that the
Union must and would be preserved. He was not content with
his own services alone, but had one of his sons, and a nephew in
the 53rd Ohio, and a brother, who held the position of Lieuten-

Quartermaster Fulton had prior to the war been successful
in his profession and business pursuits, and he had to all intents
and purposes been a student of the writings of St. Paul and was
impressed with the exhortation, "faith without works is dead ;" at

See Prgc 2;;?.



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Online LibraryJohn K. DukeHistory of the Fifty-third regiment Ohio volunteer infantry, during the war of the rebellion, 1861 to 1865. Together with more than thirty personal sketches of officers and men → online text (page 22 of 24)