My friends with the 4th Ohio Volunteer Cavalry Veterans Association asked me to take a small road trip looking for Jacob Seib – a veteran of the regiment. I found him and here’s Jacob’s story.
Jacob Seib was a private with Co. F, 4th Ohio Volunteer Cavalry (OVC). Born in Germany in 1829 he migrated to the United States and settled in Ohio. As war became a certainty in 1861 Jacob joined the Union cause to defend and honor his new homeland.
Seib lived in Auglaize County, Ohio and enlisted October 15, 1861 for a three year term. As part of Company F, Jacob drilled and marched with many other young soldiers from the west-central part of the state.
Jacob’s duty was personally uneventful until February 1862. Seib along with most of the 4th rode a hard 40 miles in a pouring rain from Bowling Green, Kentucky to Edgefield, Tennessee just north of Nashville. The regiment secured Edgefield and while only two days in town, the mayor of Nashville surrendered his city to the 4th OVC. Mayor Cheatham wanted to prevent Union forces from shelling the city, so by surrendering he hoped to protect Nashville.
At this same time John Hunt Morgan and his men were in the area. Many skirmishes between the 4th and Morgan’s men occurred over several days. In fact on March 8th, Morgan captured a wagon train loaded with supplies for the 4th OVC as it returned from Nashville. Also captured were the teamsters or wagon drivers and horses. It was reported the wagons full of supplies were set on fire.
Jacob Seib was among the men captured by Morgan and his infamous raiders. Who knows what thoughts crossed the young man’s mind? Would he live to see the flat, flowing farm land he now called home? Would he be sent to a prison or would his young life end here, as a defender of his new homeland?
Four companies were ordered to pursue Morgan. They rode long and hard through woods and underbrush. They had to contend with weaving, rocky paths, mud and fording streams. Even though the trail was arduous the 4th pursued Morgan, eventually overtaking him. Fighting took place between the 4th and the Rebs, even hand to hand combat. During the fight Morgan released most of his prisoners. The stolen horses were also recovered by the 4th. Jacob Seib was among those POWs released and he returned to his company with quite a story to tell. Yet Morgan escaped across Stones River, leaving a few of his men dead and a couple captured.
Jacob certainly saw a lot more action during his military service. He finished his three years and mustered out October 20, 1864.
Returning home to Auglaize County, Ohio and his sweetheart, Jacob married Caroline Walpeter on December 14, 1864. They were the parents of eight children. In 1870 Jacob was working hard as a farmer but by 1880 he had left farming and was working as a laborer.
The injuries of war caught up with Seib. Jacob received a monthly pension for his war time service, citing disease of respiratory organs, injury to right shoulder, rheumatism and results of scurvy on his application for his Civil War pension.
Time and sickness claimed Jacob’s life. He died May 6, 1888 at the age of 59. Buried at Greenlawn Cemetery in Wapakoneta Ohio, I remember Jacob Seib.