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Warren County Local History by Dallas Bogan

Morrow Resident Worthington Got W.T. Sherman's Attention

Contributor:
Dallas Bogan on 17 August 2004
Source:
original article by Dallas Bogan
Return to Index to see a list of other articles by Dallas Bogan

A former Morrow resident, Thomas Worthington, Jr., was the son of the fourth Governor of Ohio, Thomas Worthington, and the nephew of the first Governor of Ohio, Edward Tiffin.
Thomas Worthington, Jr., being one of ten children, was born March 18, 1807. This was four years after his father had been elected one of the first U.S. Senators. Thomas spent his boyhood days at Adena, near Chillicothe.
Thomas entered West Point in 1823, graduating twelfth of thirty-eight in the class of 1827. Perhaps because of his father's death in 1828, Thomas resigned from the army and returned to his home in Chillicothe.
The Worthington's had huge land and other entrepreneurial holdings in several different counties of Ohio. In 1834 Thomas acquired the commitment, through his father's estate, of some eighteen hundred acres of land and a flourmill near Logan. He was then engaged in the flour business and farming for the next twelve years.
Thomas joined the State Militia and in 1839 he was promoted to brigadier general. He served in the Mexican War and applied the skills he had obtained at West Point. He resigned in January 1847, claiming he was suffering from what he described as Rio Grande fever. He clearly thought his skills were not acknowledged to their full ability.
At the age of forty, Worthington, still unmarried, again was occupied in farming and milling near Logan. He was considered to be an anti-social and bitter man at this time. Claiming that his Mexican War service had "cost him a lawsuit involving his patrimony of 1,800 acres of land," tended to create a hardening attitude.
Worthington sold his land in Hocking County and moved, in the late 1850's, to Morrow. Here he distinguished himself as a "vine grower."
The fall of Fort Sumter in 1861 found him working on his estate. Throwing his working utensils aside, he immediately rushed to recruit a company of volunteers in Warren County.
He was in Washington on business when the first battle of Bull Run (First Manassas) was fought. He asked for and was authorized to raise a regiment on July 29, 1861, by Secretary of War Simon Cameron. This regiment was the Forty-sixth Ohio Volunteer Infantry, organized and trained at Camp Lyon, Worthington, Ohio. The regiment's first assignment was Savannah, Tennessee, arriving March 8, 1862.
Colonel Worthington, through his hostile attitude, was, after three weeks of service, having conflicting views with his fellow officers. His high-handiness and self-impelled motivation caught the attention of Sherman. Constantly squabbling over his regiment's lack of provisions, in a situation where provisions were generally hard to come by, was an issue in itself.
Sherman's arrival at Savannah was three days after the Forty-sixth had arrived; he recalled that Colonel Worthington was "stalking about giving orders as though he were commander-in- chief." Colonel Worthington was the senior in age over General Halleck, General Sherman and General Grant, which his attitude exhibited. Sherman alleged that Worthington "claimed to know more about war than all of us put together."
The Battle of Shiloh was the straw that broke the camel's back. Colonel Worthington published a history of the battle of Shiloh, entailing his "side of the story." The Colonel steadfastly asserted that before the battle, the Confederates were on the move. Sherman ignored the frequent warnings. He was ordered not to provoke an attack until Buell arrived.
On the morning of April 6, 1862, the Confederates attacked. Colonel Worthington claims his regiment, "was, without notice, transferred from the center to the extreme right of the Union line, far detached from the main army; that its right being suddenly threatened, the 46th, by a prompt charge of front, attacked and repelled a superior flanking force, until ordered back about 2 P.M., thus holding the extreme right of the line long enough to make advancing aid available."
General Sherman claimed credit for this maneuver, which totally enraged Colonel Worthington. The Colonel at this time started releasing parts of his diary, which accused Colonel McDowell, General Grant and General Sherman of neglect of duty at the Battle of Shiloh.
General Sherman's brother, Senator John Sherman of Ohio, on the floor of the Senate in August, 1861, detailed reports which stated: "the highest credit is given to Col. Worthington for courage and good conduct" at the battle of Shiloh.
The study of the Battle of Shiloh shows that Colonel Worthington was right in his assessment of his superiors.
Worthington was brought before a court of his superiors principally because of the release of his diary contents. He was relieved of his command on September 6, 1862. The court-martial of Colonel Worthington found him guilty of some charges and not guilty of others.
President Lincoln solicited his resignation and received it on November 21, 1862.
The Colonel skirmished with General Sherman for years over the embitterment of the Battle of Shiloh. He ventured to Washington for years during Congressional sessions, searching for reprisal for the injustice he thought was done him. Congress officially granted him a pension through a special act.
Colonel Thomas Worthington died in Washington, D.C., February 23, 1884. The Colonel's later years in Morrow were spent as a recluse separating himself from the average every day village life.


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This page created 17 August 2004 and last updated 28 September, 2008
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