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Warren County in the War
Part VI

Beginning on Saturday, October 31, 1885, the Lebanon Gazette, a bi-weekly newspaper published in Lebanon, Ohio, published this 12 part series


Publication Date Part SubTitle
October 31, 1885 Introduction Warren County in the War.
October 31, 1885 Part I The First War Meeting in Lebanon.
November 7, 1885 Part II More about the Early Days of the War - The Meeting in Washington Hall was not the First War Meeting in Lebanon - Important Addition to the History of Those Stirring Days.
November 14, 1885 Part III April, 1861, in Waynesville - A Glorious Story of Patriotism - The Firing on Sumpter Arouses the Town - Flying the National Colors - A Cannon at the Top of a Union Pole - The Great Assemblage in front of Oscar J. Wright's.
November 21, 1885 Part IV Up with the Flag - Judge George J. Smith Orders the National Colors Flung to the Breeze at the Courthouse. - A Roll of Honor - Company F, 12th O. V. I. - Taking the Boys to South Lebanon
November 28, 1885 Part V First Papers From an Old Soldier - More To Follow - Military Companies in Lebanon Prior to the War - the Old Warren Guards - Very Interesting Local History - The Early War Days at South Lebanon - First Meeting in the Old School-House and a Speech by Lawrence Smith, of Lebanon.
December 5, 1885 Part VI Second Papers from an Old Soldier - The "Lebanon Rifles" - They Offer Their Service to the Government. - Early War Days at Morrow - Company A, of the 12th Ohio - Off To Columbus and Down to Camp Dennison - Starting the First Campaign
December 12, 1885 Part VII Some Corrections by Captain Sausser - Interesting Additional Items - The Early War Spirit in Maineville - Volunteers for Many Regiments - Hamilton Township Not Behind Other Parts of Warren County.
December 19, 1885 Part VIII Third Papers from an Old Soldier - Recruiting and Muster in of Company A, 35th Ohio, With a Full List of Officers and Privates - Also Something of Company F, of the same Regiment - The Friends of the Cause at Lebanon - Facing the Realities of a Soldier's Life.
January 2, 1886 Part IX Early Days at Harveysburg - Enlistment of Ex-Auditor Randall and History of the Recruiting Expedition of Captain Parshall.
January 9, 1886 Part X A Complete List of the Officers and Privates of Company F, 12th O. V. I., As Organized for the Three Years' Service; A Queer Combination - Testaments and Liniment; The Old Sanitary Committee of the South Lebanon Pike.
January 16, 1886 Part XI The Death of Jabez Turner, The First Man the County Lost in the Great Struggle as told by an Eye Witness.
January 30, 1886 Part XII Life at Camp Dennison - Drilling and Preparing for the Battles the were to Follow - How the 12th Ohio Spent its Two Months of Probation.

WARREN COUNTY IN THE WAR.
VI.
SECOND PAPER FROM AN OLD SOLDIER – THE “LEBANON RIFLES” – THEY OFFER THEIR SERVICES TO THE GOVERNMENT.

The withdrawal of these members from the company, as mentioned in my first paper, left it with about one half of its members. It was determined to form another company from younger material in Lebanon and vicinity, and to this effect the Warren Guards disbanded, and with the young element as a basis, another company was formed called the “Lebanon Rifles.”

This company was also organized and reported to the Adjutant General, under the state laws, but owing to the growing unsettled condition of public affairs, nothing more than a company organization was effected. It never was assigned to a regiment.

The Rifles were uniformed in the United States regulation dress, and drilled in the Hardee manual or light Infantry tactics, and became very proficient in the skirmish drill.

Judge Geo. R. Sage was a lieutenant in this company, and Prof. Heber Holbrook was one of the musicians.

This company was still in existence when the first rumors of secession and war were heard, and as day after day passed, the situation continued to grow more grave and serious. War-like preparations were being made all over the South, and resistance to the government and rebellion were proclaimed.

President Lincoln issued his first call for 75,000 men, for three months’ service, to suppress the rebellion.

The State of Ohio had promised her quota of troops, and Warren County was not in the least remiss in doing her duty in raising her proportion. Recruiting was promptly begun, and to General Durbin Ward belongs the honor of being the first man in Warren County to enlist under this call of the President.

In a very few days a full company of volunteers was enrolled. The command was tendered to General Ward, who refused it, and Rigdon Williams, a lieutenant of the “Lebanon Rifles,” was elected captain. Quite a number of the “Rifles” were enrolled in this company, which was taken into the 12th Ohio Regiment, and designated Company F, or sixth in rank in the regiment.

The ranks of the Lebanon Rifles were very much depleted by this time, but it did not disband. It could not act in the matter as no more troops were wanted. Ohio’s quota for the three months service was full.

The warlike situation was daily growing worse. It was soon discovered that 75,000 men, in three months’ time, could not suppress the rebellion.

The second call of President Lincoln was then made. This call was for 300,000 men for three years, unless sooner discharged.

It was now felt by the “Lebanon Rifles” that the time had come for them to take hand in this great affair. The three months men were all re-enlisting for three years and more troops were wanted. Accordingly, a meeting of the company was called by the Captain to take into consideration the forming of a company for the three years service, and the following proposition was submitted to the company:
Resolved. – That we form ourselves into a company, and recruit it up to standard numbers, and tender our services to the state for three years.

The result was nineteen voted in the affirmative. These nineteen were a majority and decided the question. Steps were at once taken to carry into effect the resolution of the company. The “Lebanon Rifles” were formally disbanded, and the nineteen men formed the nucleus of the new company.

Most of these nineteen men had been members of the old “Warren Guards” and of the “Lebanon Rifles.”

The familiarity with the drill, and the little military knowledge acquired, although only rudimentary, was of considerable advantage to those entering the service. Many of the old guards became commissioned officers, Captain Vanneman in an Indiana regiment, General Ward and Captain C. E. Sausser in Ohio regiments, J. S. Totten in the quartermaster’s department, Rigdon Williams, Daniel Pauley and James Ross in the 12th Ohio, and Joseph L. Budd, L. F. Daugherty and James H. Bone in the 35th Ohio.
____

EARLY WAR DAYS AT MORROW – COMPANY A, OF THE 12TH OHIO – OFF TO COLUMBUS AND DOWN TO CAMP DENNISON – STARTING ON THE FIRST CAMPAIGN.

The town just at the bend of the Little Miami, situated in the beautiful valley, and named from Ohio’s famous Governor, Jeremiah Morrow, was one of the first places in the county where the use of the bayonet was determined upon for the suppression of the rebellion. Here was the home of Company A, one of the largest and best of the 12th Ohio, and one of which the whole county was again and again made proud as the war dragged its slow and wearisome course.

But the officers and privates of the old company are now widely scattered. They are heard from all over the country, but beyond those who have settled at their old homes in Salem, the whereabouts of but few are now known.

As we have said, Company A was one of the finest companies in the regiment. Its survivors proudly declare that it was the best. They say its ranks were always full to overflowing, and that they had to send men to the other companies of the 12th. Of the courage and pluck of its men there is not the faintest doubt, but how are we to find the deeds which twenty years ago were bright in the memory of all but now lie almost forgotten in the dark abyss of forgetfulness. This is the work to which the Gazette has set itself and it is with pride and pleasure that to-day we chronicle the story of the early war days at Morrow.

A visit to Morrow was, of course, an imperative necessity. A morning spent there showed how warmly the old company is recollected, but it also showed that the hand of time had been busy, even among the best recollections. A number of Morrow’s old soldiers were seen and questioned, and also some of the older citizens. The combined gleanings make a history wonderful to both young and old, and one which even to those who have been through these scenes, seems difficult of realization.

The news of the bombardment of Ft. Sumpter came through the medium of the Cincinnati daily papers. The effect was the same as at other points in the county. Every one was greatly excited, yet all were overcast with the gloom of the event. On that Saturday afternoon, thirty-six hours before the reception of the President’s call for volunteers, measures were taken for organizing a company whose services should be offered to the Governor of the state. Nothing decisive was done. In the evening, the farmers flocked in from all around, but no one recollects any such meeting as was held in Lebanon on Saturday night, April 13th. In fact, several of the leading citizens of Morrow were at the meeting here.

Sunday was a day of almost intolerable suspense. The matter was discussed everywhere and some people say that prayers for the safety of the country in the terrible crisis were offered from the pulpits. The Monday morning papers were eagerly awaited and they came with the sad intelligence of the fall of Sumpter and the trailing of the flag of the Union before the rebel forces. They also contained the inspiring call of the President for seventy-five thousand volunteers to serve one hundred days.

This news set the town in a blaze of patriotism. The partial steps for the organization of a company, begun on Saturday afternoon, were taken up with renewed energy. That morning Major J. D. Wallace was in attendance at Court in Lebanon. He was in the court-room when Durbin Ward drew up the paper, which has been mentioned in our preceding papers, and his name was among the first to go down as a volunteer in the service of his country. But in the afternoon he returned home, and found the town in a wild state of enthusiasm. He at once drew up a paper, similar to that he signed in Lebanon, and placed his own name at the head of the list. The second man to sign was E. R. Grim.

It only needed this beginning. Before Tuesday evening more than one hundred names had been secured, and for a week afterward others were added. The officers were chosen toward the latter part of the week. J. D. Wallace was elected captain, H. S. Clements first lieutenant and Albert Ludlum first sergeant. The remainder of the officers the reporter was unable to obtain.

Although ready to start several days before the marching, orders from the governor did not arrive until the 23rd. The morning of the 24th found them aboard the Little Miami train for Columbus. Arriving there, they were at once quartered at Camp Jackson. on the following day they were sworn in as a company. They remained in the crowded quarters at Camp Jackson, and on May 3rd were organized as a regiment and were made Company A of the regiment, which, as is unnecessary to say, was the 12th Ohio. A few days later they went to Camp Dennison. When they arrived there there was nothing at all in the way of quarters, although there were some piles of lumber. The boys all had to make some sort of temporary shelter in order to spend their first night there.

The next day they all became carpenters for the time being, and by the end of the month a sufficient number of shanties were built to furnish homes for many companies. Their life here was spent in constant drilling and preparation for future service. The President soon issued a call for three hundred thousand men for three years, and on May 30th Company A was reorganized for the three years’ service. On June 19th, they, with the rest of the regiment, were sworn in, and the 12th Ohio was placed on its permanent basis.

These are the general details of the early days of Company A. Many interesting particulars were told the reporter and some of these will be given in the following interviews.

One of the first men seen was Mr. E. R. Grim, the hardware dealer. He accused his memory of being very unreliable, but in spite of this he managed to give several important facts: “Our company was the largest in the regiment. I remember that it was so large at the time of the organization at Camp Dennison that some of our men were transferred to other companies. As to the raising the company, I am not altogether certain who was most prominent, but I think that it was Major Wallace. I was either the first or second man to sign the paper but I don’t know where it was that I signed it. We had talked over raising the company before the President’s proclamation was issued and when that did come we were all ready for it.”

Dr. J. L. Mounts was a surgeon in the army. The reporter met him at his drug store, but unfortunately found him busy. He stopped long enough to say: “I really am surprised to find how indistinct the recollection of those early days is becoming to me. Since I have noticed the Gazette articles, I have been trying to recall what took place then and I find that I can not. I was very busy both at the time and since, and this has driven it from my mind. Business was stopped here on that Saturday, I know, and the next week was occupied with volunteering. I did not go at that time, as I was very busy at my practice and had no idea of what the war would come to. I did go out, though, just after we got the news of the battle of “Bull Run.”

The Doctor promised to refresh his memory on some of the circumstances of the early days and the reporter released his buttonhole.

Joseph H. Ludlum, the agricultural implement dealer, was also a member of Company A. Why he could not tell of the reception at Morrow, of the news of the bombardment of Sumpter he explained by saying: “I was not here at the time. I had gone to Indiana and was visiting relatives there. On Sunday, the 21st, I read in a paper, that a company was being raised at Morrow and I came home just in time to enlist and to start to Columbus, on the 23d, I think. So, of course, I know nothing of the early days here.”

But every one whom the reporter addressed would conclude with, “go out and see Jim Ireland. He’ll tell you all about it,” and to “Jim” Ireland, the Gazette quill-driver went. He was found at his home at East Morrow, and when the reporter’s mission was explained, was glad to talk over the old times. From him we learned the dates given in the account of the organization of the company given as above. Mr. Ireland gave the following interesting particulars:
“We got the news in the Saturday papers and it just stopped everything here. By the next Monday afternoon we had our company fairly under way and nearly all the names were enrolled by Wednesday night. Others came dropping in, though, until we started for Columbus.”

“Did you hold any meetings here such as they had at Lebanon?” queried the scribe.

“No, none at all,” was the response. “We didn’t need any. We just put our names down to a paper and that settled it. We were enthusiastic enough, without holding meetings.”

“But how did you choose your officers?” was the next question.

“We had a way of our own about that. The friends of the candidates for the position would write out a paper something like this: ‘We, the undersigned, favor (blank) for the position of (blank).’ Then the man named in the paper, for any one office, that had the most signatures, these of course being confined to the member of the company, was the one who was chosen. All of our officers were chosen in this way.”

We started for Columbus on the 24th. Company F came over from Lebanon and went up with us. Those fellows had been to South Lebanon before, but couldn’t get up for want of accommodations, so they waited and came over and went up at the same time that we did. These two companies really made one big one. They had their separate organizations, and all that, but they mingled just as much with each other as the members of the various ‘messes’ did among themselves. They were always together and always felt as though they were the same. They went up to Columbus with us, and were sworn in at the same time. The regiment was organized by Lieutenant Williams, of the U. S. Army. They went to Dennison with us, and, in fact, Company A and F were one as far as close friendship and the best of feeling could make them.”

“We didn’t stay very long at Camp Jackson. It was too crowded and they sent us off to build Camp Dennison. Company F alone of the whole regiment, was allowed to stop off at home. They went over to Lebanon for a day or two. The rest of us went at once to Camp Dennison, and when we got there, we found nothing but some lumber piles. There were some queer sort of shelters put up that first night. We soon got fixed there and began drilling. About the last of May, we reorganized for the three years service and were sworn in on June 19th.”

“How long did you stay there?”

“Until the early morning of July 6th. Then we took a train on the Marietta road and went to Hamden. Then down the Hocking Valley Railroad we went to Portland, getting there Sunday night and here we camped all night. in the morning we marched to Gallipolis and from there took the boat to the mouth of the Great Kanawha. Here we met the 2nd Kentucky and the 11th Ohio. We took boats up the Kanawha and we had fairly started on our first campaign.”

Source:
"Warren County in the War, Part VI" The Lebanon (Ohio) Gazette, Saturday, December 5, 1885

by
Arne H Trelvik
27 August 2011
     


FOOTNOTES: [email any additional information or comments that you might want to submit to Arne H Trelvik]
   

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