Monday, October 16, 2023

Minister Herman Grentzenberg, 12th Missouri Infantry

Many of the men who fought in the Civil War saw their lives cut short, whether by bullet or disease, during those four long, blood-filled years, but among those who survived, some lived extremely long post-war lives. 


One man who lived much longer than expected was Herman Grentzenberg.  


He was born in Danzig, Prussia on October 18, 1836 and arrived in the United States about 1860. He was working as a barber in Dayton, Ohio in that year. 


One year later, he was in St. Louis, Missouri, part of a maturing nation that was about to face its toughest challenge, which started on April 12, 1861 when Confederate forces fired on United States troops in Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor, igniting the Civil War.


Grentzenberg supported the national government in his new homeland, joining what became the 12th Missouri Infantry (U.S.A.). In this regiment, he originally was a 2nd Lieutenant in company A before promotions to 1st Lieutenant and, in September 1863, to captain of company B.  He also had previously been in unofficial command of companies C and D of the regiment, even though he was on furlough for illness for much of the spring of 1862, after the fight at Pea Ridge. 


The 12th Missouri remained in the Western Theater of the war, starting in the Missouri and Arkansas area, including the Union victory at Pea Ridge, Arkansas on March 7 and 8, 1862.


These men also took part of the Union thrusts that eventually captured Vicksburg, Mississippi on July 4, 1863.


According to Herman’s obituary, “it was during the second onslaught on the heights of Vicksburg, under General Grant, that… (he) became inspired to be a minister, and after serving three years in the war, did so.”1


During the rest of the war, he fell ill again, as diarrhea and an intermittent fever forced him to go on furlough away from the army in September and October of 1863, just after his rise to captaincy. 


He was apparently back with the unit by the time they fought in the battles around Chattanooga in late November of that year. 


A few months later, the 12th Missouri took part in the Atlanta Campaign led by William T. Sherman. On May 28, 1864, Grentzenberg became a casualty of war near Dallas, Georgia, suffering a “slight” wound in his left foot, apparently so slight that it did not cause him to miss any more time.


He mustered out of the army in November of 1864, and proceeded with civilian life. In 1874, he married Margaret Von Tschudi (possibly Tschudy), with whom he had three daughters and three sons.


He also answered the religious call he had received, pursuing a career as a minister at churches in Cincinnati, St. Louis, and other midwestern cities.2  


In Cincinnati, his church was the Third German Methodist Church; he also worked as an assistant editor of a German Methodist newspaper called The Apologist.3 Some of his editing work occurred in the early 1890s, when he lived in Newport.

In an interesting bit of trivia, Herman “and the late James N. Gamble were the two oldest representatives attending the dedication ceremonies of the opening of the Western Hills viaduct two years ago.”4


That James Gamble was the son of one of the founders of consumer goods corporate giant Proctor and Gamble, and was also the chemist who created what became known as Ivory soap.5


His work as a minister continued until his retirement in 1910, after which he was a member of the Auburn Avenue Methodist Church.6


He was also a member of the George H. Thomas post of the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR), a post-war fraternal organization of Union veterans.7 The GAR also became involved in politics, earning itself the nickname “Grand Army of the Republicans.” 


His post-war life was much longer than his antebellum years, lasting until his death on May 8, 1934. His six children survived him, and like so many of his comrades, he was buried in Cincinnati’s Spring Grove Cemetery. 


Herman Grentzenberg lived an extremely long life, in two countries, on two continents, and survived the deadly battlefields of the American Civil War. Living until age 98, he was, perhaps, the longest-living former Civil War soldier associated with Campbell County. 


1Cincinnati Enquirer May 9, 1934




5, Accessed October 9, 2022

6Cincinnati Enquirer May 9, 1934




Monday, September 25, 2023

A Good and Brave Soldier: Jacob Goetz, 15th Kentucky Infantry

Standing 5 feet, 8 inches tall, this new Civil War soldier featured a light complexion, gray eyes, and dark-colored hair. He worked as a steamboat man, and had been born in Baden, Germany. Newport, Kentucky was his current post office address. 

 This recruit was Jacob Goetz (sometimes spelled “Getz” as on his headstone), who was born in approximately 1820.


Before immigrating, he had married Mary Seabert (or “Seibert”) in January of 1843 in Baden. The couple produced three sons and two daughters during their time together.


After coming to the United States and witnessing the start of the Civil War, Jacob enlisted as a corporal in company I of the 15th Kentucky Infantry at Camp Webster in Jamestown (now Dayton), Kentucky for a three-year term. He joined the unit on October 14, 1861, enlisted by George P. Webster, a local attorney who was raising a company. Jacob was mustered in on December 14 at New Haven, Kentucky. He was about 42 years old at this time in late 1861 though other paperwork shows different ages.*


The 15th Kentucky, which mostly formed around New Haven, Kentucky, also included a few other men who, like Jacob, had joined at Camp Webster. It became a tough and reliable regiment in the Western Theater of the Civil War. It saw fierce combat near the Bottom House at Perryville, the largest fight of the war in its home state, and also fought at Stones River before marching in the Union’s successful Tullahoma Campaign, which maneuvered the Confederates out of central Tennessee with amazingly little bloodshed by the standards of this war. 


The 15th was then part of the biggest battle in the theater, at Chickamauga, in northern Georgia, on September 19 and 20, 1863. Only the three-day fight at Gettysburg caused more casualties than did this contest, two months after which the men of the 15thKentucky joined in the battles for Chattanooga.


In the new year of 1864, the biggest action in this region of the war was the Atlanta Campaign, and the 15th Kentucky fought in multiple battles during the fight to control that important city. It mustered out of the war in January of 1865 in Louisville.1


Starting in June of 1862, Jacob spent much of his service time on duty as a regimental teamster, at least until August 151863when he was sick in a hospital at Cowan, Tennessee.


He remained in the facility until November 12, then helped guard Confederate prisoners being sent to Bridgeport, Alabama. 


At the end of 1863, Jacob was again with the unit and remained on duty at the start of the following year but soon became


sick during the month of May 1864 while on the March from Chattanooga Tenn. to Atlanta, Georgia, his disease was Typhoid Fever, he was unfit for travel and had to be sent to Hospital at Chattanooga where he died.


Surgeon Edward Dunn continued his statement in Mary Goetz’ pension application.

“I was at the time surgeon of the Regt., and it was by my order that he was sent to the rear.”


“He was a good and brave soldier and fought gallantly at Resaca” 

On June 5, Jacob passed away in U.S. Army General Hospital No. 2 in Chattanooga. 


Diseases killed more men than did bullets during the war. For Jacob, and many others, the scourge of typhoid fever was the killer. Poor drinking water was the source of this plague as “water near camps and battlefields in the early part of the war contained a bacillus that produced an acute, infectious disease that could be fatal.” This was typhoid fever, which “was among the first diseases to appear in army camps.”


 It spread quickly. “By the summer of 1861, it had attained epidemic proportions.” Its symptoms included “high fever, diarrhea, uncontrollable nausea, dehydration, and violent spasms,” and it was commonly known by several other names, including “camp fever”, “continued fever”, and “break bone fever,” among others. 


Treatment for the disease was not effective early in the war, often relying simply on “what the surgeon had at hand,” as the cause of the disease was still a mystery to military doctors. Treatment did somewhat improve as time passed due to better hygiene, “camp conduct,” and knowledge of the disease and its causes. 

The improved effectiveness in fighting typhoid did not help Jacob, and still “a fourth of all deaths from disease in the armies of North and South came from typhoid fever.”2    

Jacob was buried in Chattanooga National Cemetery.


His widow Mary received a pension of $8 per month, plus an additional $2 monthly for each child under age 16. 


*Most records show him to be around 42-44 years old early in the war years, but his page, memorial i.d. 2980931, as accessed on April 9, 2023, shows his birth year as 1830.



1, Accessed April 9, 2023

2, Accessed April 12, 2023

Tuesday, August 22, 2023

Killed in Action: Lambert Scott 23rd Kentucky Infantry

Here is another story I have found in my research of Civil War soldiers and sailors from  Campbell County, Kentucky. 

Camp Near Murfreesboro, TN, March 30th, 1863

Mrs. Sara Scott




It becomes my painful duty to inform you of your husband’s death. It was caused by the wound he received at the Battle of Stones River Dec. 31, 1862, while fighting gallantly for his adopted country. His wound was not considered dangerous at that time, but he caught cold, and death ensued. 


You have the sincere sympathy of his comrades in arms, both men and officers in this your hour of bereavement. Enclosed you will find the necessary papers to enable you to receive his back pay and whatever allowances that are due him from the Government.


If there should happen to be any trouble about your receiving the pay & etc., address me at any time and I will render you any assistance in my power and madam I am 


Very Respectfully,


Geor. W. Northup, Capt. Co B

23rd Reg Ky Vol. Infy. 


This was the sad news Sarah (Parker) Scott received early in 1863, as the Civil War was continuing to create such sadness for families throughout the divided nation. 


Lambert Scott had been born across the Atlantic Ocean in Dublin, Ireland around 1815, and by the mid-1850s had arrived in Kentucky, where he married Sarah in Jefferson County on April 23, 1856. 


Four years later, they were living in the Carthage district of Campbell County one of the state’s northernmost counties, where he worked as a school teacher. They had two daughters and shared their house with four boarders, possibly relatives of Sarah.  


When the Civil War started in April of 1861, Lambert was one of many immigrants who chose to fight on behalf of their new country. He enlisted as a sergeant in Captain George Northup’s Company of the 23rd Regiment, Kentucky Infantry, which became company B of that regiment. He enlisted at Camp King on September 18, 1861 and officially mustered into the service on December 8. He signed up for a standard three-year term and his post office address was listed as Newport. 


When he joined the army, he stood 5 feet 10 ¾ inches tall. His complexion was noted as being “light” and he possessed gray eyes and gray hair. 


The 23rd Kentucky recruited many men from Campbell County and then fought in numerous major battles and campaigns in the Western Theater of the Civil War. Included on their resume was the bloody Battle of Stone’s River, a Union victory sometimes called the Battle of Murfreesboro, near Nashville, Tennessee.


It was during this fierce contest that Lambert became a casualty of war, suffering a gunshot wound in the neck on December 31, 1862. He survived this injury on the battlefield and was sent to Nashville Hospital Number 4, but his luck worsened there, when he died of his wound on March 22, 1863. 


According to the National Park Service, the Union Army suffered losses of about 1,700 men killed, 7,800 wounded, and 3,700 missing at this battle.1 Lambert was just one of those approximately 13,200 casualties from those three brutal days, and was buried in what is now known as the Nashville National Cemetery.


A note in Sarah’s widow’s pension file also contained this certification of the sad event:


I hereby certify that Lambert Scott late a Sergeant of Company B., 23rd Regiment Kentucky Volunteer Infantry did while on the said service and in the line of his duty at the Battle of Stone River Dec. 31st, 1862, receive a gunshot wound in the neck, in consequence of which he died in the Hospital No. 4 at Nashville, Tenn. March 22nd, 1863.


            Given under my name at Readyville Tenn. this 18th day of May 1863,

            Henry G Shiner, 1st Lieut., commanding co. B


Another document, signed by fellow Campbell Countian Robert Townsend, indicates that Lambert had no personal effects to send home. 


Lambert’s will directed that any debts he owed be paid, then left “all my estate of every kind which I may have at my death” to Sarah. 


When Sarah was in the process of getting her widow’s pension, a May 1863 document shows she had moved to Fulton, Ohio, probably to live with family.

On October 15, 1881, the Cincinnati Enquirer published a story that a man in England was trying to locate Lambert’s widow Sarah because “there is a large estate left to her in England.” A reader of the newspaper had informed the journal that Lambert had died in Nashville as a “soldier in the rebel army.” This report was erroneous, as he was a United States soldier, but it remains unknown if this mistake was corrected or if the Englishman ever found Sarah. The story did note that she had resided in the northeastern section of Campbell County.2

Sarah passed away on November 8, 1904, per a document in her pension file.

From findagrave memorial 157997478


1  Accessed July 22, 2022

2Cincinnati Enquirer, October 15, 1881


Saturday, July 8, 2023

Boy Soldier Perry Wright, 15th Kentucky & 5th Ohio Infantry Regiments

When I started researching local Civil War soldiers, this was the type of story I never thought about finding. I just had never heard of anything like it in the area, but it makes sense that it was just as likely to happen in Campbell County as anywhere else. That last line is something this project has really reinforced to me, along with a realization of the lack of previous study or sharing of knowledge about the war here. Hopefully I am addressing at least part of that. 

One Campbell County Civil War soldier who encountered some issues because of his youth was Perry W. Wright. He had been born in Ohio in 1846 but lived in Jamestown (now Dayton) in Campbell County in 1860.


After the Civil War started, he may have been infected with war fever, like so many other men and boys throughout the country. He did not act upon it immediately, but on October 10, 1861 finally gave in to temptation and signed up for a three-year term in company H of the 15th Kentucky Infantry, a regiment featuring several other young men with Campbell County ties, telling the military officials he was already 18 years old. He enlisted at Camp Webster in Jamestown, likely a very brief walk from his home.


The 15th Kentucky marched and fought in many of the most famous campaigns and battles in the Western Theater of the war, but in late 1862, Perry’s age and the legality of his service came into question. 


Paperwork in his file describes the issue. 


Perry W. Wright was this day before me this day under a Writ of Habeas Corpus and it appearing that he is a minor under 18 years of age and that he was enlisted without consent of his father who claims his services. He is hereby discharged from the Army of the United States. 


Given under my hand as judge Campbell County Court this 27th December 1862, W.J. Berry, Judge C.C.C. 


(“C.C.C.”  was the Campbell County Court.)


Another form states:


Mr. James P Wright on Petition for writ without of habeas corpus states to the Hon. Judge W. J. Berry of this County Court that his son Perry W. Wright is detained without lawful authority as an enlisted soldier into the 23 (this was a mistake) Regiment of Kentucky Volunteers, that he was taken and enlisted without the consent of any one authorized to give consent and that he was so taken & enlisted before he was seventeen years old, and that he will not be eighteen years old before the 14th March next .


Subscribed and sworn to this 27th Dec 1862 by James P Wright,


WJ Berry, Judge CCC

Despite this note from the courts, at least one military officer had questions about its authority and if the army should honor the request to discharge the young soldier.


Provost Marshall Office, Newport, KY 
March 31, 1863
Maj. Genl. Burnside, Comdg. Dept of Ohio:
I respectfully submit to you the enclosed document which is now presented to me as a reason for the discharge of Perry W. Wright, a volunteer in 15 K.Y. 
 I am not satisfied with the paper for the reasons following:
 1st   The complaint does not charge any person with restraining the party of his liberty.
 2d No person was served with notice to appear and show cause why the soldier was detained nor was such notice received.
 3d Such proceedings are not attested by the seal of any court. 
Shall I hold or discharge the Soldier?
FM Keith, Pro. Mal. Newport & Major, 117 Regt OVI


(The Provost Marshal was  Fordyce M Keith, a major in the 117th Ohio Infantry regiment. The job of the Provost Marshal was to maintain “order among both soldiers and civilians” much like modern military police.)


No other specific information about his case  appears in his file, but other records show that the final decision was to discharge him from the army, which officially happened on February 1, 1864. 

His father had won. 


 Perry still wished for a military career, and, just one week later, on February 8, as he likely was now officially  age 18, he enlisted in company E of the 5th Ohio Infantry Regiment as a private. 


As he joined this new unit, it saw action in the famous Atlanta Campaign, an expedition that would have a major effect on Perry’s life.


On May 25, 1864, he was wounded during the first day of the Battle of New Hope Church in Dallas, Georgia. Perry was one of about 1,665 Union  casualties  during this contest. 


He then spent the next few weeks trying to recover from his wound, but passed away in a hospital in Chattanooga, Tennessee on June 15, still barely more than a boy at just 18 years of age.  His body lies in the Chattanooga National Cemetery. 


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.  

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

Popular Posts