Wednesday, May 10, 2023

Book Review: Tar Heels in Gray: Life in the 30th North Carolina Infantry in the Civil War

By John B. Cameron
McFarland & Company, Inc.
Copyright 2021

As the back cover of this book states, “The 30th North Carolina was involved in most of the major battles in Virginia from the Seven Days through the surrender at Appomattox.” Most of its men joined early in the war, but others were drafted and served unwillingly. 

“What was the war actually like for these men?”


It is that question, and others like it, that this book explores and discusses in a deeply-researched text that those interested in the men of the Civil War armies should read. 


Tar Heels in Gray is a good book, an enjoyable and detailed biography of a regiment’s time in the war, focusing on non-combst-specific challenges the unit and its men faced, including recruitment, motivation, disease, desertion, hunger and others.


It is not intended as a military study of campaigns and battles like most regimental histories are, but focuses its attention on other important details about daily soldier life that contributed to the regiment’s ability to arrive at and perform in battle. This is a good approach by the author and produces a valuable look at the challenges the unit faced just to have enough able-bodied men to fight.


This book is generally well-written and easy to read, but I admit that some of the statistical discussions, and the descriptions of how the author decided what fit in which category and how he assembled the statistics, were not as enjoyable as other parts, though the graphs and charts were helpful. That may just be me - I often don’t enjoy the deeply analytical and statistically-based articles about sports I follow either - but I do understand why he included these sections in the book to show his methodology. I do wonder, however, if some of the discussion of the methods could have been included in an appendix.


My personal taste on that one issue aside, I especially enjoyed the letters to and from the home front and the descriptions of camp life and relationships between soldiers were outstanding and valuable. (The discussion about Louis McLeod and Francis Moore was especially interesting. I wish their friendship had lasted longer do that their story would have been longer and provided more material for the author. That was a perfect discussuon for this type of book and showed the humanity of these men in terms of the appreciation of friendships and the feelings of loss or betrayal.)


 The 30th North Carolina was just one regiment, but this is a look at it likely shows similar experiences as men in other units, especially Confederate ones, faced. 


I also enjoyed the discussions of the various diseases men in the men of the 30th faced. Some medical terms are technical and/or in Latin, but the overview of the diseases, how common they were, and, especially, how some were likely misdiagnosed was enlightening, and might help me on my current project. 


This note might be another quite picky one, but the author’s style of writing dates - the day, followed by the month, then the year (e.g. 23 June 1865) - is a bit distracting at least for me as I am accustomed to the more traditional style (e.g. June 23, 1865).


This is a relatively short book, 161 pages including the endnotes (which are worth reading, as many include additional information other than sources), plus a six page bibliography, but is well-researched, with the use of many soldier letters, census records, tax records and more. It is clearly the product of much work (such as the analysis of how to classify the economic and occupational statuses of the more than 1,000 soldiers in the regiment, and the discussion of the wounds and diseases these men suffered). It is an impressive effort, with a fine result that provides good insight into how a regiment and its men joined the army, lived, survived, were motivated, deserted and/or died in the dangerous and deadly years of the Civil War.


*Please note that I received a copy from the publisher for no charge. I have published my honest comments herein without allowing how I acquired it to affect my opinions.  

Monday, April 10, 2023

The Moses Harrison(s) Conundrum

 Moses Harrison(s), Senior and Junior,  23rd Kentucky Infantry

Stories about more than one member of the same family serving in the Civil War are not unusual, yet I have been pleasantly surprised by how many “family ties” I have uncovered just here in Campbell County as I have researched local war veterans. 

Among these is one that may or may not qualify to be in this category is the confusing and clear-as-mud case of Moses Harrison Senior and Moses Harrison Junior. 

Both of these men enlisted in company G of the 23rd Kentucky. Military paperwork indicates that Moses Sr. had been born in about 1830 in Kenton County, Kentucky, and their files do each show a form including the suffixes to their names. 

Moses Jr., by name seemingly the son of the other Moses, was listed as having been born about 1836, also in Kenton County. 

Obviously, Moses Sr. did not have a child when he was just five or six years old, i at first thought  the age listed in his file was wrong, but census records of 1860 and 1870 support a birth year of about1830-31, leaving a question of if/how the two Moses Harrisons were related. 

Census records, particularly in 1850 which shows him as 12 years old and 1860 which record him as 24 years-old, also show that Moses Jr. entered the world about 1835 -1838. One family tree suggests that his father – obviously named Moses Sr. – was born in 1815. Was this actually a second “Moses Harrison Sr.” in Campbell County? Was the Moses Sr. who joined the military a different relative of Junior? Were the two men named Moses Sr. related? The fact that two Moses Harrisons joined the same company of the same regiment at the same place on the same day means they likely knew and/or were related to each other, but how? 

 One possibility, perhaps the most likely one in my view, is that the two men called Moses Harrison Sr. were distantly related, perhaps cousins, and just happened to share the same name, both likely named after the Biblical prophet. Maybe Moses Jr.’s father did not want to join the war, as he was about 45 or 46 years old when it started, but his son and his relative of the same name did, so they decided to join at the same time since agreeing to join a war was such a momentous decision. Multiple family members joining the same company of the same regiment was not unusual during the war, so this scenario is plausible.

Perhaps they even shared a laugh about their similar names and the confusion it would cause when they told others they were not father and son..

They both enlisted on October 11, 1861 at the Newport Barracks, and both mustered in at Camp King on December 16. 

Their compiled service records do show that they did have different appearances. Moses Sr. was 5 feet 7 3/4 inches tall with a dark complexion, hazel eyes, and dark brown hair. Moses Jr. was described as 5 feet 9 inches tall, with a light complexion, blue eyes, and brown hair. Of course, appearances can be a random result of genes, plus the recruiter may note wrong information, so this is far from any kind of proof of them being related or not related. 

Both also shared Kenton County, Ky. as their birthplaces and farming for an occupation.

I just wish I could find definitive evidence of any relation they may have shared rather than rely on speculation and guesses. Are there other obvious possibilities I’m missing or overlooking? 

Here is a summary, certainly redundant, but perhaps more concise and orderly:

Moses Harrison Senior was born about 1830 in Kenton County. 
He was 5 feet 7 3/4 inches tall with a dark complexion, hazel eyes, and dark brown hair.
He joined company G of the 23rd Kentucky Infantry on October 11, 1861 at the Newport Barracks, and mustered in at Camp King on December 16. 
He was promoted to corporal, then reduced in the ranks.
Forms included “Sr.” as part of his name.
He survived the war and appeared on later census records. The 1860 record shows him being 30 years old, living in Newport, and already married to Delia, a name which had various spellings on different records.
The 1870 census shows Moses Sr., age 39, living in Grant’s Lick with wife Delia, 3 daughters and 1 son.
 He died on June 16, 1909 in Kentucky. His burial place is unknown. 

Moses Harrison Junior was born about 1835-6 in Kenton County.
He was 5 feet 9 inches tall, with a light complexion, blue eyes, and brown hair.
He was a private in  company G of the 23rd Kentucky, also enlisted on October 11, 1861 at the Newport Barracks, and mustered in at Camp King on December 16. 
Forms did include “Jr.” as part of his name.
The 1850 census shows him with Martin Thomas family and reports him as age 12 in Campbell County, so his birth may have been in 1838.
In 1860, he was 24 years old and lived in the Kane area of southern Campbell County and worked as a laborer. He lived with 17-year-old Harriet, who may have been his wife, 21-year-old William, and 7-month old Richard.
A family tree shows him as Moses Jr., his father as Moses Harrison Sr., born in 1815, and died in 1891. A second family tree shows those same names, but nothing more on his father.
His wife was Harriet per the 1860 census and a pension card. He apparently married Harriet in 1858. 
He died on December 31, 1862 at the Battle of Stones River. His burial place is unknown, but probably in the Nashville/Murfreesboro area, perhaps on the battlefield itself.


Sunday, March 5, 2023

Charles Mount, 20th Ohio, Letters Home

I recently posted about a soldier in the 20th Ohio named Charles Mount

Four of his letters home survived the war and are in his widow’s pension file on Fold3.

Here are my attempts to transcribe them, though some words are unclear. I tried to add modern spelling, spacing, and punctuation to help make them easier to read. 

On the final letter, he wrote the start of it on the bottom half of the page, then the last half from bottom to top of the top half. It was a mess, and he also had a habit of writing in the margins, both on the sides and then back at the very top. I tried to put everything in a sensible order but could not find another closing that fit, so those lines seem to dangle, but at least they were generally legible and sensible.

Emphasis (underlining) is in the originals. I used italics for illegible words.  

Letter 1


Camp King Dec. 10, 1861, Tuesday afternoon

My Dear Wife & Children

I hope you are well & sharing the blessing of health with me. I am writing in great haste with my sleeves up to my elbows, having just finished wiping dishes. Major Rigby is expecting to leave for home in a few minutes & I am in a great hurry to write you a few lines again. I wrote you yesterday. If it is as warm with you at home as it is here it will be very necessary that that pork should have a strong pickle put on it. If it has not been done already, request Mr. E. Estill to do it for me if G or Mr. – has one is not at hand. 

If there is anything that you want done that you deem it necessary for me to know about, please write. This is decidedly a romantic county in this locality. It is said that the land here, although in places very hilly, is worth $100 per acre. I was out one afternoon with 2 others after straw & I was delighted with the scenery. We called on some 4 farmhouses, one of which is said to be sesesh, notwithstanding we were treated with marked kindness & civility, had quite an interesting chat and when we left let us each have a paper of the latest date. 

My dear wife, believe that your Chas. is doing well & in good health. I wish that you was in such a case. It would rejoice my heart. 

I commend you & the dear ones to the protection of our Heavenly Father. 

With my love to you all & to inquiring friends, I remain your affectionate husband, Chas. Mt. 

I had a testament given me last night.

Letter 2


Sat. Morning 10 o’clock, Dec. 14, 61

 My dear wife I would be glad if you & the children as good health as I am.

I made a great discovery in the bottom of the basket, a nice roasted chicken. A 1,000 thanks to you again. How shall I repay your kindness? The first opportunity I have of sending you cranberries or any other thing you will let me know you wish, I will send.

Get what cranberries you wish at Elliott’s or anything else he may have that may add to your comfort.

If Mr. Harmon has not taken the measure Sylvia or Ella a pair of shoes, it perhaps had better be done so that they can get them.

Shoes for Charley & Martha it may be had better be bought at Mr. Cox’ or illegible & though last not least you need a pair if you have not got them, you will please get. If you need money let me know, or there is a few accounts which if not paid in soon Gideon will look to these things. I hope you will not be backwards about writing to me in time, that you may be cared for in time. 

Those cakes which were put in my satchel, I have them except one. You will think it strange perhaps that I loved them so well at home & get here, have cared so little for them. Their turn will come by & by perhaps.

I would say that when Lieut. Rogers got in camp, it was night & had no supper & the men that came with him had no supper. I done what I could for their comfort & took W.R. into our tent & opened the basket of good things which you sent. He partook of the biscuit, butter & cakes & divided most of the apples to the boys that there happened to be in. I had not discovered the chicken there.

Mr. Dunedin(???)  gave us a pail full of apples as we passed his house. I have a few yet. We can get them here in camp 2 large ones for 5 cents, or small ones for 1 cent apiece.

I remain your affectionate husband, Chas.

— Letter 3


City Barracks – Cincinnati – January 24, 62

Good morning my dear Phebe. I hope you and the children are well as Corman & that you have rec’d 3 letters from me since a week ago last Wednesday, for they have been sent from my hand, and I am very sorry that they have not reached you. I am entirely well so far as I know except a cold & that, after coughing & spitting a while I am relieved for the day.

Will you suffer me to take the time to write to Gideon. I guess I will try to have a letter each for Frederick for him by Wednesday evening & one for you on Thursday evening. 

I write now go & eat breakfast for we have flights of stairs to descend before we reach our table. We cook & eat out-of-doors & sleep in the 2nd story above the basement.

I will try & get my 2 shirts & white gloves washed as I hear that it can be done for 3 cents illegible to be illegible.

The Ohio River is higher than it has been for a number of years past, so I am told. I would like very much to see it.

I toasted some bread for myself & buttered it with some of that roll which you sent me & it helped a good deal as our cooks did not have a very good meal. 

There is a talk of the company being taken out this morning for recreation & to see the rivers.

Wm. Ball of Co. A who worked for me at Jms. Chambers has just come up from Warsaw on furlough & I expect to send this by him & it will reach you Saturday morning. Good for the luck.

It is now near noon & I have just finished washing our new bed tick & hung it up to dry. 

The men that went out in Company’s this forenoon are now in & I will try for a nap this afternoon.

I will be obliged to you to send a dozen illegible sticks by Will Baer when he returns. 

This from your husband Chas. 

Letter 4 (it begins in middle of the first page)


Friday evening ½ past 4 o’clock

I have been out in the city about 3 hours taking a look at the river wholly & in part submerged.

Went to see the city reservoir, bought some foolscap paper 15 cents, illegible 8 stamps, 2 quarts dried peaches, at 10 cents a quart for you & ½ ¼ tea for self & Miles at the rate 1.50 lb., but I guess I could get as good elsewhere for 1.25. 

Coffee is 2 cents.

I would like to have got some apples  (move to middle of last page) for you, but I had nothing to carry them in. Can you get any in town & at what price? I can get fine apples 5 cents t or lb. What do you have to pay for them there?

I am glad of the opportunity of sending this to you as it will reach you so much sooner than I expected & I hope that you and the dear children are well as could be expected. 

Write often & much.

From your unworthy, Chas.

Top of first page: Friday evening ½ past 6.

While Billy Ball is blacking his boots & brushing his clothes I have been writing. I am writing more than I expected. I thought I would use the upper half of this sheet in writing to Sylvia, as you will see on the upper half of this on the other side is to be read from the bottom upward. 

We have so much confusion here I hardly know what I have written. 

You will make all allowances.  

I wish I was to be the bearer of this like I was the other time, but I guess it will not be so this time. 

From your affectionate husband, Chas. 

(Last section starts in left margin on final page, then moves to the middle of page and goes upward.)

I know exactly one man to my knowledge in this city to my present knowledge, that is Benjamin Fogal, illegible once but now in the provisions trade 39 Vine Street. Elliott & the merchants of our place do business with him J. Johnson particularly. 

He has been here to see me & I called on him in his office today. He told me Martha Young & her husband called at their house yesterday. Illegible – perhaps his? name I do (not) know nor could he recollect. He wished me to call & go to church with them. 

I have made an acquaintance with Wm. Waddle of Mt. Vernon, an illegible Presbyterian, a fine young man, I think.


Friday, February 24, 2023

Sergeant Charles Mount, 20th Ohio Infantry

I have looked at this empty envelope before because it was addressed to Camp King, which was a recruiting center for Civil War soldiers in nearby Covington. Many soldiers enlisted and/or mustered in at the camp near the Kentucky Central Railroad, including numerous ones I have researched.

For some reason, I had never paid attention to the soldier’s name on the envelope, but I am correcting that oversight now with this look at the short life - and much shorter military career - of Charles Mount, a volunteer in the 20th Ohio Infantry regiment.

Charles Green McChesney Mount was born November 9, 1825 in Highstown, New Jersey to parents Hezekiah and Charity Mount. He had eight siblings, including sisters Jane and Catherine, whose names are written on the envelope, likely having sent this to him from Davenport Centre, New York in January 1862. (The envelope is addressed to the care of Captain Elisha Hyatt of company A instead of Charles’ company I, so perhaps Hyatt’s unit was in charge of receiving and distributing the regiment’s mail at Camp King at the time. Another possibility is “missent” means it went to the wrong company.)

On April 23, 1850 Charles married Phebe Roberts in Knox County, Ohio, and in the same year they lived there as boarders. He found employment as a house joiner in the construction industry. 

By 1860, he worked as a carpenter and his family, now including four children, still lived in the same county.

On November 20, 1861, he enlisted as a private in company I of the 20th Ohio in Fredericktown in Knox County, and received a promotion to 1st sergeant on March 10 of the following year.

The 20th Ohio had organized at Camp King per Ohio Civil War Central or, more likely, at Columbus, Ohio, according to  the National Park Service  which reports the unit organized on September 21, then “moved to Camp King near Covington Ky., and mustered in October 21,” meaning it basically came together at both places. (Covington is across the Ohio River from Cincinnati, so the location does makes sense despite being in another state.)

Camp King

It had originally been a three-month unit, but had now reformed for a three-year term, which was the standard for most Union regiments by this time.

The Ohio Civil War Central website linked previously provides more details on the regiment’s movements while Charles served under its banner.

The regiment’s colonel, Charles Whittlesey, “was a graduate of West Point, an engineer, and a geologist and supervised the erection of defenses around Cincinnati, Ohio.” One of those defensive positions, Fort Whittlesey, in what is modern-day Fort Thomas, Kentucky, was named in his honor. (Fort Thomas was itself a United States military installation that was named to recognize another Civil War soldier - General George H. Thomas.) 

Fort Whittlesey

Through early 1862 this regiment “principally guarded batteries in the vicinity of Covington and Newport, Kentucky.” (Newport was across the Licking River from Covington and Camp King, and near what became the city of Fort Thomas.) These batteries were among the defenses of Cincinnati, a key Union supply city during the war. In September of 1862, after the 20th Ohio had left, these defenses became important during the scare known as the “Siege of Cincinnati.”

Some men of the 20th Ohio traveled a short way south to handle troubles arising in Warsaw, Kentucky in late 1861, as discussed here and here.  

The regiment headed to northern Tennessee, where, in February of 1862 it came under fire from Confederate forces even while remaining in reserve at the Battle of Fort Donelson. It then remained in Tennessee and fought in the second day of the Battle of Shiloh on April 7. It was still in that area in May when Charles went home on furlough due to his health. 

Phoebe’s widow’s pension file provides more details on the timeline and Charles’ condition. 

In early February of 1862, he left the army, having received a furlough to go home to recover from a fever. At that time, he likely carried all his personal possessions, including this envelope and its contents, home with him. He likely missed the- Fort Donelson adventure. 

Dr. Thomas Potter, who had been Charles’ family doctor, cared for him, and the treatment worked, allowing Charles to return to his regiment.

A few weeks later, however, he fell sick again, and on May 21 received a twenty-day furlough to return home.

The doctor’s statement reports that Charles was now suffering from a disease of gastro enteric character with bilious complications, (i.e. a sick stomach  and/or intestines, with nausea and/or vomiting). The doctor gave him an unnamed “usual treatment” for such an illness, but without much success.

He received a twenty-day extension to his furlough on July 21, along with the continued expectation that he would return to his unit - still at Pittsburg Landing, Tennessee as of the date of the extension - within the allotted time.

Charles did not improve and was eventually discharged from the army due to disability on August 25, 1862. His discharge certificate, signed at Camp Case in Columbus, Ohio, described his condition as a “habitual debility of constitution caused by disproportionate organization of body. He will never be able to do the duties of a soldier.”

Dr. Potter pointed out that Charles had never suffered from that intestinal illness before. He was “laboring under said disease when he was discharged, contracted in the service.” 

“Other credible witnesses swear to his good health prior to enlistment.”

After his discharge, Charles “lived & lingered along for about a year, sometimes worse & sometimes better,” before his condition deteriorated at the end of August 1863.

The physician believed that the sickness was not “induced or aggravated by the personal habits of the soldier” as Charles was “of good moral temperate habits.” 

Charles passed away on September 3, at his home in Fredericktown and was buried in Knox County’s Forest Cemetery.

Phebe received a pension of $8 per month, plus an additional $2 for each of her five children - including the youngest, a son named Elliot, born on June 24, 1862 as Charles was possibly still at home on furlough - until they reached age 16. memorial # 77289988

Saturday, February 4, 2023

Sergeant Philip Gantzschier, 12th Indiana Infantry

 Here is one of the stories I've found while searching for Civil War veterans from Campbell County. I have occasionally shared a few here and might try to do that a little bit more often, as there are many interesting stories. This one is fairly short and basic, though with a sad ending.

Like for many Americans in the mid-nineteenth century, immigration was vital in the life of Philip Gantzschier.

He was born on May 19, 1836, in the Hoosier State of Indiana, but was a son of parents from Baden, Germany, and his spouse, Mary Ann Meyer, was from Prussia.  

When the Civil War broke out, he joined company C of the 12th Indiana Infantry Regiment, a one-year unit in which he served as a sergeant from May 9, 1861 until May 19, 1862.

The one-year itineration of the 12th Indiana Regiment had organized in Indianapolis and, after being transferred from state service to U.S. service, spent time in the eastern theater of the war through Maryland, Virginia, and the area that became West Virginia, before marching to Washington D.C., where they mustered out of the service in May 1862 as their term expired.                                           

Philip eventually made his way to Campbell County, Kentucky, living in Bellevue in 1872. He worked as a carpenter and helped his wife raise one daughter, Estella, though they also had a son, Willie, who died at just seven months of age.

Estella, unfortunately, only lived until 1892, when she died at age 23, and more sadness arrived when Philip’s wife Mary Ann passed away in 1897.

He later remarried to a woman named Mathilda, but she too passed away before Philip, in 1907.

On March 26, 1910, Philip entered the Dayton, Ohio branch of the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers. At the time, he stood 5 feet 9 inches tall, with a dark complexion, brown eyes, and gray hair. He held Protestant religious views and was able to read and write. His occupation was still that of a carpenter, and his nearest family was a nephew in Indianapolis. He was receiving a military pension of $17 per month.

National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers, Dayton, OH

Almost exactly a year later, on March 25, 1911, while on furlough from the soldier’s home, Philip was admitted to Speers Hospital in Dayton, Kentucky, suffering from heart trouble. This was not unusual, as the Kentucky Post reported “he had been a frequent patient at the hospital and was assigned to the room he was always given.”1

Speers Hospital, Dayton, KY

On the 28th, his attending physician, Dr. Sherwood Garrison2 visited Philip, who made a comment that perhaps should have received more attention: "Doctor, I wish I had something to put me out of this misery."

The doctor did not recognize the foreshadowing and simply replied "Why you are better, aren't you?" to which the patient responded "Yes, I am. Thanks, Doc."

About 6:00 that evening, a nurse brought Philip his supper, then left to return to other duties. When she returned a few minutes later, “the aged man was lying there with the bottle clasped in his hand. It had been concealed in the pocket of his overcoat.”3

The bottle had contained carbolic acid, “a very poisonous substance made from tar and also found in some plants and essential oils…Carbolic acid is used to make plastics, nylon, epoxy, medicines, and to kill germs.”4

The hospital notified his doctor who contacted the county coroner to confirm the cause of death, which the death certificate noted as “carbolic acid poisoning, suicidal intent,” and that the poison was “self-administered.” Contributing factors were melancholy due to old age, disease of heart and hemorrhoids.

The newspaper mentioned that the coroner believed concern about his condition was the source of Philip’s melancholy, but loneliness may have also added to it.

His ability to bring poison into the hospital seems, at best, unusual in the current day, but times were different as the Post noted “none of the private patients are ever searched and the hospital authorities had no suspicion that Gantschier (sic) had a bottle” of that chemical in his jacket. The story claimed that he had died “with a smile on his lips” and the bottle “clasped in his hands.”

Philip was described as “well known” to the people of Bellevue, where he had been a member of the Granville Moody Post of the Grand Army of the Republic.5

He was buried in Cincinnati’s Spring Grove Cemetery, alongside his family, who all share the same headstone, including Philip, his two wives, and the two children.

Photo from memorial # 78935949

Photo from memorial # 78935948

1Kentucky Post, March 29, 1911
2, Accessed November 11, 2022
3Kentucky Post, March 29, 1911
4, Accessed November 11, 2022
5Kentucky Post, March 29, 1911

Friday, January 20, 2023

New Books as Christmas Gifts

I received a gift card to use on books for Christmas and settled on these three, plus a couple e-books. (I’m not a big fan of e-books, but the prices were so good, I figured I could get over it.)

“And There was Light” is good so far - it reminds me of some familiar parts of Lincoln’s life but brought up stuff I did not recall, and has provided good perspectives on his thoughts on slavery snd his struggles with colonialization, how to deal with freed slaves, and his views on the relationship between the races in society and politics. It’s certainly neither hagiography nor a butchering of the President

Hopefully I can do more reading this year. I’m still researching and writing, but more reading would be good too. 

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Private Foster Caseman, Company D, 23rd Kentucky Volunteer Infantry

Photo from findagravecom, memorial 66529335

Private Foster Caseman was born in Hamilton County, Ohio, perhaps in Cincinnati, in 1841.

In 1860, he resided in the area of Tibbatt’s Cross Roads, in southern Campbell County, Kentucky, which lies just across the Ohio River from the Buckeye State. 

He enlisted in company D of the 23rd Kentucky Infantry at Camp King, in Covington, Kentucky, on December 4, 1861. He was 5 feet 8 inches tall, had a dark complexion, brown eyes, and black hair. He worked as a farmer. 

His time in the unit may not have been easy, as the 23rd saw a lot of action in major battles and campaigns. Foster must not have liked his military experiences, and deserted from the regiment on August 2, 1862. He did, however, return on March 30, 1863, after President Abraham Lincoln had issued a proclamation of amnesty for deserters who returned to their units by April 1, 1863.

About six months after his return, he lost his life on September 19, 1863, at the Battle of Chickamauga in northern Georgia. This was the second bloodiest battle of the entire war (behind Gettysburg) per the American Battlefield Trust. Foster was just one of 16,170 Union men who were killed, wounded, or missing during and after that fight, which also included 18,454 Confederate casualties.  It was “by far the deadliest battle fought in the west.” 

Private Caseman was buried in the Chattanooga National Cemetery. 

The accompanying photograph came from Nothing  indicates when the photo was taken, but it shows a very young-looking man, though it does not seem to show a “dark” complexion that his paperwork claimed.

This is, perhaps, how he appeared when he met his demise, one of so many young men cut down by the long, bloody war.

Sunday, October 9, 2022

More Thoughts on My Continuing Project

 I'm not really sure what to title this  post, but it is, again, just an update on the book project that has been my focus for the  last couple of years now. 

A few weeks ago, I had a copy of my "all combined" file printed. This file was a combination of all my completed stories in one large Word document. I  just really wanted to see what it looked like in "real life" and not just on a screen.

It ended up being 199 pages (including  front and back) and about 95,000 words, and looked terrific!

It was pretty cool to see and hold, I must admit. 

It's also cool to be able to hand it to other people to look at and give me feedback. It has been positive commentary so far. 

We've also uncovered a few typos ("there" instead of "three" "city" instead of "century" and two stories in reverse alphabetical order by mistake) but I had not tried to proofread every word of every story yet. This is a work in progress, and I'm sure other such issues remain in it but having something so tangible and "real" is a good feeling. It's good to see and hold it and see the information I have assembled.  I hope this isn’t a case of “pride goes before the fall,” but I am happy with what I have created thus far.

I did submit a brief questionnaire to one publisher. The only response I received so far was a question  if the book was only about the profiles or about the home front of Campbell County during the war. I replied and have not heard back yet, but I presume my subject did not totally interest him at first, but that is fine. It still is fascinating  me, both in what I am learning and how enjoyable it has been, even if my idea is rejected. 

Also, I must admit that a look at the county's home front during the war is another idea that intrigues  me. I put together a quick list of ideas that could apply to such a topic. That approach strikes me at first as much more complicated and requiring more detailed research, but it's also a topic that has not been explored in this region, and I do have some thoughts on how to approach it. Some of the stories I've uncovered in my current research could fit into that topic.

I'm still working on this first project as I had planned, but  maybe the home front during the war is an idea for the future. I'll keep an eye out for appropriate material as I continue to research the individual soldiers and sailors. 

And I have not necessarily given up hope on having my work published as a book. Other options are available and I am actually glad to have received that suggestion and comment in reply to  my  initial inquiry. This project is a big one and I will keep plugging away at it especially as I continue to find interesting stuff.

In the last week or so, I found a local man who was a victim of the Sultana disaster. That was a great surprise and certainly a story I must tell. 

I also was looking up a soldier’s name and found a man who had been arrested for cutting down an American flag. It was almost certainly a civilian with the exact same name and does not fit the scope of my book, but I thought it was a neat find too. I’ll find a way to share that with others (besides the blog’s Facebook page.) it’s at least one possible story of the war’s home front in Campbell County. 

I also found out that the last Civil War veteran living in Campbell County was Cornelius Green Cannon, an African-American who served as an under cook in the 23rd Missouri Infantry. He died in 1944 and I’ll certainly add his story to my project. 

Hopefully the discoveries keep on coming. It’s really fun to uncover stuff like the man on the Sultana or names of other Campbell County men who served. Whatever sports in thffuture,mi have learned a lot snd had quite a bit of fun so far. 

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