The Voice of Schurz’s Division

February 19, 2017

In February 1863 Colonel McGroarty and his fellow officers under General Schurz took the occasion of Washington’s birthday to respond to the growing anti-war sentiment.  The following was published in the Fremont Journal March 13, 1863:

The Voice of Schurz’ Division

The officers of the Division of Gen. Carl Schurz have made the following expression to the President:

Camp Near Stafford Court House,

Feb. 22, 1863

His Excellency, President of the United States

We can celebrate the birthday of the great Father of this Republic in no more appropriate manner than by addressing you, Sir, a renewed expression of the sentiments which animated us when we took arms for the defense of the integrity of the Union, and which, since that day, has never ceased to animate us.

We have learned with the deepest concern that efforts are made in the loyal States to demoralize the consciences of the people by false representations, to undermine the sympathies of the masses with the great cause which is the subject of this conflict, to embarrass the Government in the prosecution of the war, and thus deliver the Republic into the hands of her enemies.  We cannot find language strong enough to express our abhorrence of the factious men who carry on these treasonable machinations.

They have taken advantage of certain measures the Government has adopted for the purpose of putting down the rebellion, and, as just in themselves, we hail the measures as evidences of that energy and determination which alone can lead us to victory.  We are as ready as ever to fight, suffer and die for the sacred cause of the Union, which is the cause of human liberty and progress, and more ready than ever to punish traitors at home just as well as the rebels in arms.

We hope to see a day of reckoning between those who went into the field willing to sacrifice their all for the country, and those miserable hypocrites who at the commencement of the war cringed before the majestic uprising of popular enthusiasm, and now avail themselves of an hour of misfortune and danger to defeat our efforts, to barter away the great future of this Union, and to trifle with the blood of the people.

On us, sir, you can rely.  By the memory of the illustrious patriot whose birthday we celebrate, by the blood of the many brave men whom we saw dropping from our ranks on the field of battle, we renew to-day the oath we once have taken, and will fight against the enemies of the country, North and South, to the bitter end.  Whatsoever hard-ships and privations the war may bring upon us we will endure – we will think of no peace but the peace which will spring from a final and complete triumph of our arms.

Col. A. Schemmlfenning [sic], Comd’g 1st brig.

Col. Hartung, 74th Pennsylvania

Col. McGroarty, 61st Ohio

Maj. Ruthers, 68th New York

Col. Brown, 167th New York

Col. Hecker, 82nd Illinois

Col. Krzyzanowski, Comd’g 1st brigade [sic]

Col. Mahler, 75th Pennsylvania

Col. Jacobs, 26th Wisconsin

Col. Peissner, 119th New York

Lieut. Col. Gelhman, 58th New York

Ho! For the War!

January 25, 2017

In January 1862 Lieutenant Albion W. Bostwick began recruiting for the 61st in Cadiz, Harrison County.

The following editorial was published in the Cadiz Democratic Sentinel January 8, 1862 promoting Lieutenant Bostwick’s efforts:

Ho! For the War!

It is useless disguising the fact that our Government has not men enough in the field to effectually crush the rebellion in the South.  Our armies can gain no very decided advantages, until large reinforcements reach them.  No advance is made on the Potomac; the reason given is, “not force enough.”  Our advantages gained by the taking of Port Royal are rendered insignificant for the want of more men.  The landing of our troops on Ship Island, Mississippi is made of no account, for the want of sufficient force to invade the weak portions of the Rebel Confederacy.  The gallant Brown lies inactive at Pickens, and Gen. Buell wants more men in Kentucky to effectually disperse the rebel army now invading that State; to rescue the gallant Union men of Eastern Tennessee, and break the backbone of the rebellion.

In this contest the young men of Harrison County have not been doing their full share.  Three companies have been formed in the county, but there should be at least three more formed.  It is the most glorious contest the world ever beheld – the struggle for the maintenance of the Constitution and the Union.  Another opportunity is now offered you of participating in this struggle.  Lieutenant A. W. Bostwick, a soldier of the Mexican war, who has a military experience, gained on the burning sands of Mexico, has accepted a commission, and will recruit a company of 100 men in Harrison County, for the 61st Ohio Regiment, commanded by Col. Newton S. Schleich, as good an officer as ever drew sword in any contest.  The headquarters of the Regiment is at Lancaster, Fairfield County, Ohio, where the troops are quartered as comfortably as any regiment in the service.

Young men of Harrison County, let it not be said by your posterity, that you were untrue to your country – that in the hour of her trial, it may be in the pangs of dissolution – when she called on you for your services, you ignobly refused to obey the call.  Let not the case and comforts of home seduce you from duty, but make a sacrifice for your country, shoulder your arms like true men, and aid in achieving an object that will be handed down by the historian as one of the most glorious achievements of this or any other age – the preservation of the great American Republic.

Recruiting notice published in theiJanuary 8, 1862 (

Recruiting notice published in the Cadiz Democratic Sentinel January 8, 1862 (from Chronicling America).

The young men of Harrison County answered the call for Lieutenant Bostwick.  However, they wouldn’t have the opportunity to serve under Colonel Schleich in the 61st.  In February Lieutenant Bostwick and his company were transferred to the 74th Ohio to help complete that regiment.  The 61st wouldn’t reach its full complement of enlistments until April 1862 when it was consolidated with the 50th and 52nd regiments.

 

 

Lieutenant Charles Tinkler

December 23, 2016

Charles Tinkler was 25 years old when he enlisted in the 61st on February 20, 1862.  Appointed a sergeant in Company K, Tinkler was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant on October 15, 1862.  Wounded at the Battle of Chancellorsville, Tinkler rejoined the regiment and was promoted to 1st Lieutenant on April 29, 1864.  Brevetted a captain for his service, following the war Tinkler returned to Massillon and eventually moved to Cleveland, where he died on December 26, 1904.

The following obituary and photograph was published in the Cleveland Leader on December 27, 1904:

After an illness extending over a long period of time Captain Charles E. Tinkler passed away yesterday morning at his home, No. 214 Van Ness avenue.

Captain Tinkler was sixty-eight years of age and leaves a widow, Mrs. Mary A. Tinkler, and four children, Harry A. Tinkler and Mrs. J.A. Phillips, of this city, Miss Alice Tinkler, of Canton, and Mrs. E. W. Miner, of Detroit.  For fourteen years Mr. Tinkler was a clerk in the railway mail service running between this city and Zanesville on the Cleveland, Canton & Southern Railroad.  Five years ago he was injured in a railway wreck while on duty and was obliged to retire from the service.  He came to this city with his family from Massillon and there the body will be interred Wednesday, the Knights Templars officiating at the service.  The service in this city will be held to-day, Rev. Dr. C. H. Carroll, of the Hough Avenue Congregational Church, directing it.  Captain Tinkler was a member of the Massillon Grand Army Post.  He served with distinction in the civil war, going out as a private in the Sixty-first O.V.I. Regiment.  At Chancellorsville he was severely wounded and was obliged to return home.  As soon as he was able he returned to the front, being assigned to the engineers’ corps and becoming a member of General Sherman’s staff in the famous march to the sea.  He returned home two more times on account of wounds and was finally mustered out after the surrender of Lee, holding the rank of first lieutenant and the brevet of captain.  One of his wounds troubled him ever afterwards.  He was a member of the Massillon Lodge, No. 4, of the Knights Templars.

 

Charles Tinkler

Private Paris Brewer

November 27, 2016

Paris Brewer was 19 years old when he enlisted on February 1, 1862 at Upper Sandusky, Ohio.  Brewer served as a private in Company K and reenlisted in early 1864.  On July 20, 1864 Brewer was killed at the Battle of Peachtree Creek, Georgia.  He is buried at Marietta National Cemetery.

brewer

Casualties of the Atlanta Campaign

October 21, 2016

During the Atlanta Campaign the 61st suffered 135 casualties in killed and wounded, including the following who are buried in Marietta National Cemetery:

 

Private Thomas Brown of Co. H died September 1, 1864 in Kingston, Georgia.

Private Thomas Brown of Co. H died September 1, 1864 in Kingston, Georgia.

 

Private John Fox of Co. C died August 27, 1864 at Kingston, Georgia.

Private John Fox of Co. C enlisted in Circleville, Ohio on March 25, 1862.  He died August 27, 1864 at Kingston, Georgia.

 

Private Jeremiah Ginley of Co. K was killed July 20, 1864 at the Battle of Peachtree Creek, Georgia.

Private Jeremiah Ginley of Co. K was killed July 20, 1864 at the Battle of Peachtree Creek, Georgia.  He had enlisted February 18, 1862 in Canton, Ohio.

 

Private Henry Reese of Co. B enlisted January 21, 1862 at Cincinnati, Ohio. He was killed July 20, 1864 at the Battle of Peachtree Creek, Georgia.

Private Henry Reese of Co. B enlisted January 21, 1862 at Cincinnati, Ohio. He was killed July 20, 1864 at the Battle of Peachtree Creek.

 

Private Andrew Strayler of Co. I enlisted in Cincinnati, Ohio on February 28, 1862. He was killed July 20, 1864 at the Battle of Peachtree Creek, Georgia.

Private Andrew Strayler of Co. I enlisted in Cincinnati, Ohio on February 28, 1862. He died July 25, 1864 of wounds received at the Battle of Peachtree Creek.

 

Corporal Samuel Zebolt of Co. A enlisted January 12, 1862 at Cincinnati, Ohio. He was killed at the Battle of Peachtree Creek on July 20, 1864.

Corporal Samuel Zebolt of Co. A enlisted January 12, 1862 at Cincinnati, Ohio. He was killed at the Battle of Peachtree Creek on July 20, 1864.

 

 

The Price of a Heavy Sacrifice

September 24, 2016

Among the casualties the 61st OVI suffered at the Battle of Peachtree Creek on July 20, 1864, were Sergeant Marcus Leiter and Private Joel Frank.  Leiter and Frank had both enlisted on the same day, March 27, 1862 in Canton, Ohio and both served in Company E.  The Stark County Republican published the following on August 4, 1864:

DEATH OF A VETERAN

We mentioned the fact that Sergeant Marcus F. Leiter was reported mortally wounded.  He was wounded about 4 o’clock, P.M. in the battle of Wednesday the 20th and died the same evening.  Sergeant Leiter, was about 19 years of age, having been a mere boy when he enlisted the first time, nearly three years since.  His regiment, the 61st Ohio, of Hooker’s corps, has seen very hard service, having shared the fortunes of the Army of the Potomac until after the battle of Antietam, and of the Army of the Cumberland from Lookout to Atlanta.  In all the varied and desperate fortunes of war, young Leiter acquitted himself nobly and faithfully, until at length, like so many of our noblest and bravest, he has made, in behalf of his country, the extreme sacrifice of his life.

Adjutant Leiter, of the 162d, who started to see what could be done for his brother, as soon as the news came, has arrived home.  He met a number of wounded of the 61st, at Chattanooga, who gave him the facts as above stated.  There being nothing he could do, there being an order of Gen. Sherman’s prohibiting the disinterment of dead bodies until October, he returned.

A comrade of Sergeant Leiter, named Joel Frank, from near Berlin, was killed while helping him off the field.  These facts would seem to corroborate what is claimed, that it was a fierce conflict, and that our success was achieved by extraordinary valor, and at the price of a heavy sacrifice.

 

Sergeant Leiter's grave at Marietta National Cemetery.

Sergeant Leiter’s grave at Marietta National Cemetery.

 

Private Frank's grave at Marietta National Cemetery.

Private Frank’s grave at Marietta National Cemetery.

Marietta National Cemetery

August 18, 2016

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The graves of Private William Justus, Sergeant James Grafton and Private James Richards. They were killed at the Battle of Peachtree Creek, July 20, 1864.

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Grave of Private James Mackey of Company B, killed at Kennesaw Mountain on June 25, 1864. Mackey was 18 when he enlisted on April 1, 1862 at Mount Vernon, Ohio.

 

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Grave of Private Michael McClusky, who enlisted on January 30, 1862 at Bellaire, Ohio at the age of 33. McClusky was killed July 31, 1864 outside Atlanta.

 

 

 

 

 

Colonel Stephen McGroarty and John Hunt Morgan

July 21, 2016

In July 1863 after the Battle of Gettysburg Colonel Stephen McGroarty and other members of the 61st returned to Ohio to fill their depleted ranks.  While travelling to Columbus the party reached Bellaire, Ohio at the same time a train arrived with captured members of General John Hunt Morgan’s command, including General Morgan.  They had been captured in Columbiana County following their raid through Indiana and Ohio.  On August 7, 1863 the Delaware Gazette published the following about a conversation between Colonel McGroarty and General Morgan:

The Ohio State Journal says that while John Morgan was on his way from Steubenville to Columbus, Col. McGroarty of the 61st O.V.I. had an extended conversation with him, in which Morgan says that his instructions required him to pass through Indiana and Ohio, and to meet Lee in Pennsylvania, where it was anticipated by the rebels they would be victorious.  But Lee being defeated, Morgan concluded to get out of Ohio as soon as he could.  Within the last few days he does not seem to have made much progress in the matter.  He distinctly acknowledged to Col. McGroarty that owing to the defeat of Lee – the fall of Vicksburg and Port Hudson, the Southern Confederacy had gone up.

Whether or not Morgan truly believed the Confederacy was finished, he would continue to fight for it, escaping from the Ohio Penitentiary later that year and returning to confederate service.  Morgan was killed during a federal raid at Greeneville, Tennessee on September 4, 1864.

 

 

Musician David Reynolds

June 24, 2016

David Reynolds was born on January 1, 1845 in Upper Sandusky, Ohio.  On February 24, 1862 he enlisted in the 61st Ohio and was appointed the musician of Company K on April 8, 1862.  In July 1863 Reynolds transferred to the Third Maryland Cavalry where he served as a corporal.  The Third Maryland Cavalry was organized in Baltimore in the summer of 1863 and saw service in Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi.  Reynolds mustered out of the army on May 30, 1865.  Following the war Reynolds married Minerva Bryant in 1867.  In 1870 Reynolds and his family settled in Des Moines, Iowa.  He later relocated to Marshalltown, Iowa where he died on December 31, 1915.  Besides his widow, Reynolds was survived by six children.

Scouting in Northwest Georgia and the Flag of the Fourth Tennessee (U.S.) Infantry

May 26, 2016

In his history of the regiment, The Sixty-first Ohio Volunteers, 1861-1865, Major Frederick Wallace tells of a reconnaissance the 61st conducted during the Chattanooga Campaign.  On October 18, 1863 Lieutenant Colonel William H. H. Bown led 300 men of the 61st from Bridgeport, Alabama.  There destination was Trenton, Georgia, about a dozen miles away and the location of a Confederate outpost.  Reaching Trenton, the 61st quickly captured the outpost with no difficulty as the Confederate force was itself absent on a scouting mission.

However, Lieutenant Colonel Bown and the 61st did not return to Bridgeport completely empty-handed.  They did capture a Confederate staff officer.   According to the Daily National Republican in a story published on October 19, 1863, the Confederate officer was Captain Robert C. Kennedy, Inspector General on Major General Joseph Wheeler’s staff.  Kennedy was carrying dispatches to General Braxton Bragg.  He also had with him the flag of the Fourth Tennessee Infantry (Union).  The Fourth Tennessee lost its flag on October 3, 1863 when the regiment surrendered to Major General Wheeler’s command at McMinnville, Tennessee.  The 61st turned the flag over to its corps headquarters after returning to Bridgeport.

More information on the Fourth Tennessee and their surrender at McMinnville is available at the Civil War Daily Gazette.