Robert L Kimberly.

The Forty-first Ohio Veteran Volunteer Infantry in the War of the Rebellion, 1861-1865 online

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Captain 8th Infantry. U. S. A.; Colonel 41st O. V. I.; Brig. Gen. U. S. Vols.

Mhj. Gen. U. S. Vols.; Colonel 37th Infantry, U. S. A.

Brigadier General U.S.A.



Veteran Volunteer Infantry


The War of the Rebellion.



Robert L Kimberly and Ephraim S. Holloway,

With the Co-operation of the Committee
of the Regimental Association. . .

CLEVELAND, OHIO : ^ "",//;.., / ',\^'
W. R. Smellie, Printer anp Pubi^i.Vhe^.;.'' >- J ''*'







R 1901 L.


It is the aim of this book to show, first, of what material the
regiment it commemorates was composed; and second, the life of
the regiment apart from its marches and battles. These latter are
matters of official record, but the real life of the regiment, its per-
sonnel and characteristics, are nowhere given in connected form.

As to material, the regiment came from the Western Reserve
of Ohio, and from counties south and west of the Reserve. The
Reserve, largely settled by New Englanders, was a hotbed of anti-
slavery sentiment always. It was the home of Giddings and Wade,
of national repute in the abolition agitation days. Its only city,
Cleveland, was the scene of several notable contests under the fugi-
tive slave-law; and at one time, a popular frenzy which made the
soberer ones tremble was quieted only by the majestic presence
and admirable tract of Salmon P. Chase, then governor of the state.
A slave girl, Lucy, claimed in Wheeling, W. Va., was confined in
the county jail, awaiting the process of- the United States court for
the Northern District of Ohio. A mass meeting was assembled,
companies coming from the Giddings district, forty miles to the
eastward, and from Oberlin, to the westward. The Giddings dis-
trict men carried hickory sticks, the bark removed, in imitation of
the Connecticut colonists who met and turned back the king's
stamp act commissioner, near Hartford. This demonstration was
so tlireatening that Gov. Chase was summoned, and, coming by
special train from the State capital, arrived when Hhe crowd had
been wrought to madness over the use of the county jails to serve
the purpose of the hated fugitive slave-law. The governor mount-
ed the platform in the midst of the multitude on Monument Square,
and stood, uncovered and unannounced, before the frenzied peo-

4 Preface.

pie. At the moment, a committee was on its way to take the slave
girl from the jail. With a word, Chase, the born ruler, turned the
furious mob into an orderly assemblage of sober citizens. "Fellow
citizens," he said, and paused. "Lawabiding fellow-citizens of the
Western Reserve!" What more he said mattered not; he had call-
ed them to their senses, and the Giddings district "Peeled Stick
Brigade" went quietly homeward with the rest.

I give this prominence to the incident because it is luminous in
illustration of the character of the people. A people slow to anger;
but, once aroused, equal to martyrdom. A people who would suf-
fer long before unsheathing the gword; but the naked steel, in hand
at last, never to be returned to the scabbard except in victory.

Through that section of the country, in the years before the
war, one might travel day after day without the sight of a pauper
or a family not comfortably and decently provided for. And one
might travel twice as far without seeing a soldier or any hint of
war. In the regiment, as it was organized, there was but one man
who had seen so much as a battalion in the field, and I am not able
to say whether that one had ever witnessed a battle. A solitary
militia company was maintained at Cleveland, but it was seldom
seen. The gathering of a thousand men out of such a population,
putting them into a rigid army organization, and taking them
through the great campaigns in Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama and
Georgia, would necessarily bring a multitude of diverse exper-
iences, all new to the men of the regiment, and many of them worth
preserving for succeeding generations. Some of these experiences
show thrilling heroism; others are impressive by the patient en-
durance they disclose; still others are touchingly pathetic; and in
some there is a savor of piquant drollery. All these went to make
up the life of the regiment during its term of service. It is this life
which is sought to be recorded in this book. The bare military
record of marches and fights has been written many a time, and is
a part of the records of State and national governments. The real
life of the regiment, as outlined above, is nowhere preserved in

If the purpose of this book be achieved, the survivors of the
regiment will find here many a well remembered scene and incident;

Preface. 5

a later generation will see in its pages a story of patriotic service
well performed; and some will recognize the tales heard from the
lips of fathers long since gone to the eternal camping ground.

It is proper that acknowledgment be made here of the patient
efifort of the late Gen. E. S. Holloway, from whom some of the
statistical matter has come. For the narrative, the writer is wholly
responsible; but very valuable help has been received from many
comrades. For all this aid, the writer gratefully returns thanks.

R. L. K.
Cincinnati, September, 1897.

Regimental Association Committee on History,


The portg-first Ohio Infantry.



The news of the disaster at Bull Run, the first general engage-
ment of the Civil War, came upon the Northern Ohio communities
as a stunning shock. Incredulity and consternation were the con-
tending emotions among those who heard the earlier news by wire
from Washington. The night was a long one to such as waited
hour after hour for some contradiction of the story of defeat and
rout. But the people quickly roused themselves to face the situa-
tion and retrieve what had been lost. The abiding effect of the
disaster was to open the eyes of all to the fact that the armed de-
fiance of the national authority was not to be put down by anything
in the nature of a brief excursion to the South by fifty or seventy-
five thousand men. The immense gravity of the contest that was
now fairly opened was thoroughly appreciated, and among all
classes the belief spread that the loyal States would be called upon
for all their military strength.

Under these circumstances, the President's call for three hun-
dred thousand volunteers came as a relief rather than as an unwel-
come demand. Few were disposed to count the cost. The one
solemn fact in every mind was that a victorious enemy of the gov-
ernment was bent upon its overthrow. The old-fashioned Fourth
of July was still familiar to the people, with its patriotic panegyrics
upon the glorious Revolution; and all schoolboys had heard Patrick

8 The Forty-first Ohio Infantry.

Henry's speech. The common patriotism, indeed, was almost an
abstraction. Except for the friction arising under the fugitive
slave-law, these people would hardly have been conscious of a na-
tional government at any time, so lightly had its functions touched
them. Not many had ever seen a United States soldier, or any
insignia of national authority. The actual government, its person-
nel and operation, was to them little more than a myth. But very
real, and very close to their hearts, were the deeds of 1776 and 1812;
and when it seemed that a domestic foe was about to obscure the
lustre of the old heroism and throw away its fruitage, these people
rose in defence with none silent or dissenting.

Militia companies from Cleveland had responded to the first
call for volunteers. That was when the contest appeared likely to
be short and trifling. When half a million men were ordered for
three years service, Ohio came promptly to the front. Several
gentlemen of prominence and influence with the Governor became
actively interested in the military organization going rapidly for-
ward, — among them, George B. Senter, Bushnell White, George A.
Benedict, and some others. An order was secured from the War
Department, giving leave of absence to Lieut. William B. Hazen,
of the Eighth U. S. Infantry, to take command of a volunteer regi-
ment to be raised in Cleveland. Many enlistments had been made,
and several companies were in camp, when Col. Hazen arrived to
take command. Among those who were most active in the regi-
mental organization before Col. Hazen's arrival were Col. John J.
Wiseman, who had been a member of a New York militia regiment,
and who was made Lieutenant Colonel of the Forty-first; George
S. Mygatt, who had been on the Governor's stafT, and who became
Major of the regiment; and Junius R. Sanford, a Cleveland militia-
man, who was commissioned Adjutant. In various counties
around, the work of enlistment was pushed by energetic men, and
the first full companies at the rendezvous came from Geauga county,
many miles away. In other counties, and as far away as Wayne
and Columbiana to the southward, and Lorain and Ottawa to the
west, recruiting was urged forward by Wiley, Leslie, Steele, Toland,
Bushnell, Mitchell and a score of others. Many of these names
do not appear in the records of the regiment's active service; the

Making the Regiment.

rigorous requirements of the West Point colonel causing- them to
be set aside for other men, not more patriotic, but better adapted
to the service. Not the less are these active and willing organizers
to have their meed of praise, because the work they did was in pre-
paration, and not the deadly work of war. Some further references
to this earlier work will be found in the sketches of companies in
this volume.

The arrival of Col. Hazen to take command at the rendezvous,
Camp Wood, in the Cleveland suburbs, brought an immediate trans-
formation. In his first order, announcing himself as commander,
he laid out the full process of turning recruits into soldiers. Drills,
study, recitations, camp police duty, the cut of the hair and cleanli-
ness of person, roll calls, meals, reveille and tattoo and taps, ab-
sence from camp or from any duty, sick calls — calls of all kinds
and recalls almost as numerous — every minute detail of the daily
routine and life, from sunrise to the putting out of lights at night,
was specified and prescribed with the precision of a disciplinarian,
until the men began to wonder if two days' work was not crowded
into the twelve-hour program. Bugle calls for the various duties
were incessantly sounded, and exercises trod on each other's heels
in the ceaseless labor of each day. The commander seemed as in-
sensible to fatigue as a threshing machine, and to think his men
were like thirty-day clocks, wound up to run a month without stop-
ping, and then wind up again. But, if the colonel sometimes seemed
to err in his driving, it is to be said that he knew, better than any
other in the command, the tests to which the regiment would be put,
and also that the time for preparation would be far too short, crowd
it how he would. It is to be said further that he put most work
where there was most responsibility. Besides drilling the men,
the officers had their special studies and drills. It was a tremendous
pace the colonel set in this business so entirely new to the recruits —
too fast for some to endure, and they, good men, but unable to keep
up, were left behind, dropping out one after another. For lack of
willing disposition, Hazen had no mercy; but to simple lack of adap-
tability he was widely charitable and considerate.

The work of instruction never ceased in any command of Col.
Hazen's. Before a year was over, the officers of his regiment were

10 The Foety-first Ohio Infantry.

provided, in addition to army regulations and tactics, with Jomini's
work, Napier's Peninsular War, special books on field fortifications,
instructions in topographical drawing and some other subjects; and
had received teaching and practice in minor engineer work, the
fixing of distances, the method of marching troops, and a score of
things outside the regulation tactics. For the men, there was a
return, whenever brief occasion ofifered, to rudimentary instruction,
the school of the soldier.

Summing up, it may be said that the inflexible army discipline,
coming suddenly upon men unused to associated effort, at first be-
numbed the minds of many, as if they went through prescribed
motions like automatons. But this wore away, leaving the men
practiced, alert and obedient, with no loss of spirit. So, too, the
strict regulations as to care of the person were sometimes galling;
now and then a man felt a degradation in inspection with shirt un-
buttoned and bared feet; but this feeling also vanished as the wis-
dom of the regulation forced itself into recognition.

But what a change from all anticipations! Where was "the
pomp and circumstance of glorious war?" Not in the unending
drudgery of drill ; or in sweeping dirt paths with brush brooms day
after day; or in the sentinel's lonely pacing through the dead of
night; or in the detail for fatigue duty; or in keeping rust off a
Springfield rifle barrel and rubbing up buttons and brass plates;
or in eating the little-varied army rations month after month, until
the soldier would give a farm for one of his mother's pickles, and
a year of life for a bite of home-made pie. Pomp and pageantry
were scarce. There were no waving plumes for offlcers or men —
not so much as a feather. There was a dearth of prancing steeds,
pawing the earth and scenting the battle afar oiT. Let alone pranc-
ing, the field officers' horses evidently thought the whole business
a bore, and had no heart in it. Even the fifes and drums palled on
the musical ear while the drum corps rattled ofif four hours a day
ji;st beyond the parade ground.

Ideas of organization in those early days of the war were
somewhat crude, even among regular army officers. Thus, the
Fortv-first was to have a batterv of artillerv and a full brass band.

Making the Regiment. 11

Both were organized. Every old member of the regiment will re-
member little Wetmore, captain of the battery, a thoroughly in-
structed West Point man; slight in frame and smooth-faced, and
with a permanent physical disability; courteously reserved in man-
ner; full of kindness of heart, but full also of ofificial dignity when
on duty — one of the picturesque figures of those weeks at Camp
Wood.. But only of those weeks. Wetmore's battery went into the
field, but not attached to the Forty-first. Army organization was
growing rapidly, not only as to numbers, but also as to methods;
batteries were not to be attached to infantry regiments.

The band lasted longer as an attachment to the regiment,
though its Hfe was shorter. Jack Leland's band had a name in
Cleveland long before the war. The leader joined and enlisted his
men, and all entered with good heart upon the service. But the
army band practice was not the same as that which the men were
accustomed to, and when, some months after the regiment had gone
to the field, the colonel called for a detail to blow the bugle, the
leader explained that such service would "spoil the lip" of the man
detailed. The colonel failed to appreciate the nicety of this ob-
jection, and a discouragement came upon the band. Another break-
er of musical hopes was the regulation for hospital service, the re-
quirement of instruction in bearing stretchers and caring for the
wounded. All this made band life in the army very dififerent from
band life at home. Then again, the first winter out was passed in
Camp Wicklifife, Kentucky, where nothing but mud and sickness
abounded. No place could be found better calculated to take the
spirit out of the men whose idea of duty comprehended a march over
smooth streets, wearing clean uniforms and heading a showy pro-
cession of some kind. Nevertheless, Leland and his men held
bravely on; but the War Department soon learned as part of its
first practical lesson that one of the things to be dispensed with, in
such service as its armies were in, was the full regimental band.
The less pretentious drum corps succeeded Cleveland's crack band
in furnishing music for the Forty-first.

Yet another disenchantment came — this to the chaplain. A
pious and worthy gentleman had been appointed to the place; but,
the regiment once in the field, he failed to find the expected oppor-

12 The Forty-first Ohio Infantry.

tunities for his holy office. But this was not perhaps the worst.
The opportunities provided him were wholly unexpected in their de-
mands; and when it came to inspecting the soup kettles of the com-
pany messes, the chaplain broke down. Perhaps he was not fond
of soup made in big black kettles over open fires, and from cakes
of desiccated vegetables. The good man gave it up, mildly pro-
testing in the interest of his palate and his stomach.

Among other delusions common throughout the regiment at the
time of assembling, was the notion that it was a good thing to have
a little private arsenal in addition to the arms furnished by the gov-
ernment. Some of the men brought with them Colt's revolvers,
often the gift of friends left behind. The regimental order which
required the men to divest themselves of such extra armament and
rely wholly on the regulation supply, was a great surprise. After-
ward, plodding along roads ankle deep in either mud or dust, and
participation in a battle or two, was abundant vindication of the colo-
nel's wisdom in stripping his men of useless loads. Many articles be-
sides pistols went the same way — with no little heartache, when the
prohibited things were the loving gifts of fathers, mothers or sisters.

Colonel Hazen took command at Camp Wood on the 16th of
September, 1861. He found two full companies, and the others
still recruiting. On the 29th of October the regiment was mus-
tered into the service with a total of 931 officers and men. A week
afterward the regiment left its rendezvous on the way to the front.
It had not yet received its arms, but had been drilled with two
hundred old muskets belonging to the State.

From Cleveland the regiment was taken direct to Camp Den-
nison, near Cincinnati, received its arms and spent some uncomfort-
able days there. Everything was strange about the quarters, if not
entirely new. It was far enough to be away from home, and yet
too near to aflford the relief of novelty. Nobody was sorry when
the transport steamer Telegraph No. 3, took the command aboard
at Cincinnati to go up the Ohio river to Gallipolis. In this river
town the people and surroundings were not so familiar, and some
of the men began to feel that they were really off to the war at last.
None of them knew that for a few days the destination of the regN

Making the Regiment. 13

ment was in some doubt. The colonel knew it and was concerned
for the outcome. He had no desire to come under the command
of Gen. Rosecrans, then in West Virginia. A more inviting field
of operations opened up to his imagination on the line south from
Louisville, where the operations promised to be on a grander scale
than was possible in the West Virginia wildernesses. The home of
a rebel, Colonel Jenkins, was on the southern side of the river a few
miles below Gallipolis, and there were reports of some Confederate
activity in that region. The regiment was taken there by boat one
day, and a short march was made to the Jenkins place, without result.
The colonel hurried his regiment back to Gallipolis that night, to
• escape possible complications with Rosecrans. The matter did not
pass unnoticed by the latter, but Col. Hazen was soon gratified by
an order to Louisville to report to Gen. Buell, then organizing the
Army of the Ohio at that place.

The camp just out of Louisville was a great improvement. The
grounds were pleasant, and near enough to the city to be visited by
the people there. The Forty-first began to get some satisfaction
out of drills and dress parades before audiences from the city, which
included some ladies of the loyal families. The men were becoming
better accustomed to the close association of army organization; and,
though the work of instruction was not intermitted for a day, it had
become less onerous and tiring. The soldiers were coming to
handle their guns with confidence, for it was not until they were
pitted against the Confederate Enfield rifles that the uselessness of
the Greenwood rifled muskets became apparent. This latter was
me arm which had been furnished by the government, sorely pushed
to outfit its gathering armies. The camp at Louisville was one of the
bright spots in the record.

At Louisville the Forty-first was assigned to the Fifteenth bri-
gade, Nelson's division, and, when this was done, it was fairly in the
field for three years' service. Already it had a character peculiarly
its own, and this distinction was helped by several outward signs.
The men never wore the regulation army cap, but were supplied
with the neater cadet cap. The manual of arms in which they were
drilled was that of the old Scott tactics, sometimes called the "heavv

1 4 The Forty-first Ohio Infantry.

infantry manual." The most noticeable feature of this manual, in
comparison with the later "light infantry drill," was the position of
the piece at shoulder arms. It was carried in the left hand, the
barrel to the front — a much better show of arms than is given by the
light infantry position at shoulder arms. This manual was adhered
to throughout the service, and always marked the regiment for notice
at reviews, parades and when marching with shouldered arms. There
may have been other regiments using the old Scott manual, but the
Forty-first fell in with none such.

Down to the Front. 15



The march from Louisville southward to the vicinity of New
Haven, Kentucky, was made under the careful and precise detailed
orders of Gen. Don Carlos Buell, a master of the art of moving
troops, as he was of the army system of organization. The Forty-
first felt his directing hand while in Louisville very slightly, for
the reason that the preliminary instruction of the regiment had
been as thorough and painstaking as the time would allow. When
it came to a march of some length, however, the case was different.
It was a new experience. Each day's march was carefully marked
out; times of halts for rest were prescribed; cautions as to speed of
marching were given; directions for filling canteens were laid down;
inspections were ordered to make sure that the raw soldiers did not
over-load themselves, beyond the regulation outfit; and very little
detail seemed to be prescribed. As a result, the first continued
marching of these troops was done with comparative ease and pre-
cision, and there was very little straggling.

The camp in which the Forty-first spent the winter of 1861-2
was named Camp Wicklifife. Whatever the ground may have been
in the summer season, during that winter it was almost continually
a slough of mud. The regiment went to this camp as a part of Has-
kell's Fifteenth Brigade, Nelson's Division, Army of the Ohio. Not
long after its arrival a new brigade, the Nineteenth, was organized,
and Col. Hazen was assigned to the command of it. The brigade
was made up of the Forty-first, the Sixth Kentucky, and the Forty-
sixth and Forty-seventh Indiana. This organization was short-
lived. The Indiana regiments were commanded by Colonels Fitch
and Slack, prominent politicians of Indiana before the war; and these
gentlemen, for some reason not discoverable by others, were the
reverse of favorites with imperious Gen. Nelson. He made them
uncomfortable, and even put some petty slights upon them. They

16 The Forty-first Ohio Infantry.

soon secured the transfer of their commands to more congenial as-

The fighting, that winter in Camp Wickliffe, was continuous,
but it was fighting a more potent foe than the Southern army. Dis-
ease of various kinds played havoc with the men, and no precautions
served to avoid it. Measles was perhaps the most calamitous visi-
tation ; many men who recovered from the direct attack were left to
fall into some other ailment more or less serious. Battles of great note
have been fought with less loss than was sustained by the troops at
Camp WicklifTe. The medical staff of the Forty-first was well qual-

Online LibraryRobert L KimberlyThe Forty-first Ohio Veteran Volunteer Infantry in the War of the Rebellion, 1861-1865 → online text (page 1 of 25)