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Warren County Local History by Dallas Bogan

Fort Ancient Site Of Sham Battle In 1912

Dallas Bogan on 18 September 2004
original article by Dallas Bogan
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On Saturday, July 28, 1912, Fort Ancient was attacked by a khaki clad group of soldiers from the First Regiment, Ohio National Guard. This encounter was waged upon the grounds of a most historic site that goes back to the early dawn of history.
Some 3000 people, who had traveled for miles for the occasion, viewed the spectacular event. The fight was the last active occurrence for the season.
Governor Judson Harmon visited the camp on Saturday evening and assessed and addressed the troops. He returned to camp on Sunday morning, and was especially interested in the breaking up of camp.
Saturday proved to be a most inspiring time at the camp for the audience. Farmers, their families, and town folk alike, began arriving at an early hour. An almost endless stream poured into the grounds to witness the momentous event.
Amidst all this, much excitement was caused early in the day by the arrest of four alleged bootleggers by Sheriff Forgy and Chief of Police Fraser, who promptly ushered the villains off to jail.
The soldiers were permitted to visit with friends and relatives throughout the morning. After mess, the large tents were torn down and the pup tents assembled so that the heavy canvas could be sent on ahead of the regiment. The Western Star sent a representative who accountably enjoyed mess with the boys of Company H. Through the kindness of Quartermaster Sergeant George Chamberlain and his aids, a fine meal was served which consisted of hash, beans, bread and coffee.
At 2 o'clock sharp the different companies were ordered to fall in with blank ammunition being issued to each man.
Lieutenant Colonel Homer Glancy was in charge of the First and Second battalions. He immediately ordered his troops to march and proceed out of the earthworks and to a woods northeast of the Fort.
The Third Battalion, under Colonel W.C. Meyer, was ordered to take up a position behind the Fort.
The attacking army had vanished into the woods. Scouts from both armies were sent out to spy upon the enemy. Twenty minutes later, the attacking troops made a move toward the Fort. Cautiously, they would run for a short distance and then drop flat upon the ground.
A spy, quite alert, saw the advance of the enemy and hurried back to the Fort and described the advance. A small squad was sent forth and from ambush they fired upon the fast approaching enemy. An answer by a volley of fire from the hills beyond the Fort signaled the beginning of the battle.
Continuous firing was evidenced for half an hour as the army advanced upon the earthworks. Within a distance of about fifty yards from the Fort the bugle sounded and the battle was called off. No decision was made as to the victor.
The Western Star representative witnessed it all by the side of Captain Al Brant. Brant was a Civil War hero. The Star reporter said it was a pleasure to see the Yankee blood stirred in the Captain's veins, as it had done in the gloomy days of the Civil War.
Asked if this battle was a reminder of days past, Brant said "while it sounded like a real battle there was the absence of the whirring and whistling of bullets, which added spice to the conflict."
Sunday morning saw the camp broken up and Company H, of Lebanon, was the first to leave. They promptly hiked from the Fort and arrived home in time for the first real meal they had eaten in over a week. The Lebanonites stood the march and camp life well, and not a single complaint of illness or any other hardship was heard from any.
The other companies said their farewells to the camp and at 1:45 p.m. they returned to their homes by train.
The officers were delighted with the use of the Fort as a camp; plans were made for its future use as camping grounds.
Governor Harmon spent Saturday night in Lebanon. He was the guest of Judge and Mrs. J.A. Runyan.
The governor was quite proud of this newly reorganized regiment. As a statement he said:
"You know, there was trouble in the regiment over the colonelcy and other things, but I advised not going outside the regiment for new officers, but asked the men to choose the colonel from the list of captains. Colonel W.C. Meyer was chosen and others were promoted go lieutenant colonel, majors and adjutant. The regiment has been recruited to greater strength and is a fine military body."

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This page created 18 September 2004 and last updated 28 September, 2008
© 2004 Arne H Trelvik  All rights reserved