Saturday, January 28, 2012

An Afflicted Regiment

This story comes from the January 25, 1862 edition of the Covington Journal, but is probably very similar to other stories throughout the war, at least in regards to the challenges the men faced. The incident with the colonel (linked below the article) may not have been quite as common as illness, but was not unknown either.

An Afflicted Regiment
From a letter written by a member of Thirty-seventh Indiana regiment to the Brookville Defender we extract the following:

You have of course heard of many of our troubles. You may some day hear of all.  We find that it is not the battle field that is to be feared in a campaign as much as the diseases of camp. Strange as it may seem, we have been constantly an afflicted Regiment from the first. The measles first prostrated us, proving fatal in no cases, but entailing effects from which very few have recovered. Then came diarrheas and dysenteries; then worst of all, and taking advantage of diseases symptoms, came the fatal typhoid fevers and typhoid pneumonias. Finally we have the mumphs. At present we have some prospect of better health, though a great many are now on the sick list, and some are very sick

Deeply do we sympathise with the family of Mr. Clendenning in the loss of two so noble boys as were Addison and James. I was not with the regiment when the last move was made from Camp Nolin to this place, but am told that great cruelty was shown toward the sick. James was unable to walk, but as there was no other way to do he tried, but fell by the way. He gradually grew worse, and died yesterday. Addison died a week before, though taken afterwards. The Company to which they belonged feel greatly their loss. They gave the boys all their attention in their power during their sickness.

The 37th Indiana had formed in Lawrencburg, Indiana in late 1861 and was serving in west-central Kentucky during the time-frame in which this story was published. They would eventually fight at Stone's River, Chickamauga, Chattanooga and in General William T. Sherman's Atlanta Campaign and March to the Sea.

Addison and James Clendenning were both part of company G of this regiment, Addison as a private and James as a sergeant.  The New York Times published this account that mentioned the deaths of Addison and others in the regiment and how Colonel George Hazzard behaved, on at least one occasion, regarding the ill men who served under his command. He does not come across very well at all in this story, and it may have had ramifications on his career, as Governor Oliver Morton of Indiana wrote to Secretary of War Edwin Stanton to withdraw his previous request to promote Hazzard to Brigadier General at least in part due to this incident and "great tyranny to the troops."

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