Category Archives: Confederate
I’m not sure how I stumbled on the Confederate Military History but I’ve found it to be another great reference as I do my Civil War research. Along the same lines as the Southern Historical Papers or the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, the Confederate Military History gives us a first hand account of the war from those fighting for the Confederacy.
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’s mission was to secure the town of Edgefield and while in town only two days, 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
Noel’s life was uneventful as the political scene changed in Kentucky and across the nation. Living in Carroll County there were frequent debates about his home state’s chance of secession. Those debates continued even as the Unionists managed to keep the state from seceding. Through the turmoil Clayton favored pro-union opinion.
All this changed for Noel while visiting a cousin in Cincinnati early in September 1862. The city was threatened by Confederate forces commanded by General Heth and an army of 12,000. They were moving northward having just occupied Lexington, Frankfort and Maysville. The city of Cincinnati, across the Ohio River, was a nice prize for the Army of Tennessee. For ten days Cincinnati was under martial law as Union forces took command of the city, guided by the strong leadership of General Lewis Wallace. Businesses and shops were closed as citizens dug trenches and prepared their city for battle. Armed men, many of them farmers, known as “Squirrel Hunters” came from surrounding counties to help defend the city. Cincinnati was as prepared as was possible for war and Noel was witness to it all.
Andersonville prison as we know, was infamous for the horrible living conditions imposed on Union prisoners of war held there. Officially known as Camp Sumter, it was located in the southwest part of Georgia. It opened in February 1864 to house the ever-growing prison population that increased once the prisoner exchange system broke down between the north and south.
There are numerous accounts of the atrocious living conditions endured by the prisoners. Andersonville was built to house 10,000 men but at its peak 33,000 men were jammed inside its walls. Barracks were not erected for prisoners. The men built their own huts and tents out of scrap pieces of wood, tree limbs and whatever cloth they could find. These flimsy structures could not give relief from the intense summer heat of the Georgia sun, the cold winter nights or pounding rain.
Inside the prison a “deadline” marked by a thin rail fence kept prisoners from climbing the stockade walls. Guards were ordered to shoot any soldier who touched the fence let alone cross it. Many prisoners who could no longer exist in such conditions committed suicide by crossing the “deadline”.
The fresh water for prisoners was a small stream, a branch of Sweetwater creek, that ran through the center of the camp. Unfortunately it had to be used for bathing as well. Soon this stream and the surrounding area grew putrid with the accumulation of human waste and filth. Furthering the spread of disease.
Food was scarce for the prisoners. Most died from starvation or malnutrition. Disease and infection ran rampant. Men were dying horrible, agonizing deaths at a rate of 100 a day.
For some time through history the conditions at Andersonville were considered deliberate Confederate actions against Union prisoners. Yet many historians today agree the Confederacy simply did not have enough food, medical care or resources for their own citizens let alone thousands upon thousands of Union prisoners of war. Camp Douglas and Elmira prison in New York are examples of northern prisons with the very same atrocious conditions and equally high prisoner mortality rates.
Today a visitor can walk this historic Civil War site. The prison is outlined with white posts and two sections of stockade walls. The rebuilt stockade gives a hint of the original primitive prison. The adjoining cemetery holds the remains of more than 13,800 Union soldiers who died at Andersonville and in the surrounding region.
Many travelers to this historic site can attest to unusual and haunting experiences.
There’s Another Side to the 4th OVC in the Civil War – One of Secrets, Intrigue and Gold – the finale!Yesterday and Saturday I posted the first and second part of a three part series on the 4th Ohio Volunteer Cavalry (OVC). It’s a story about the 4th OVC, the Civil War, gold and renegades. If you missed the first two parts you can catch it here and here. – now to the final installation.
Feeling slightly relieved that they had not been overtaken by the guerillas from Tennessee, the seven men from the 4th were closing in on their destination, now only a mile from Keel Mountain. Suddenly out of nowhere came a horse and rider approaching them. Fast and with fury he drove the horse. The soldiers of the 4th knew there was probably a vast number of men behind him. They turned toward Keel Mountain. If they could get around the mountain, Union help was on the other side. Only then did they realize the Tennessee guerillas were closing in on them as well.
The Lieutenant from the 4th ordered his men to move up into the mountain. They would have to find a defensive position at the top and maybe the Union troops nearby would hear the shooting and come to their aid. As the mighty men of the 4th scrambled for cover along the wooded mountain side, the shooting began.
Both bands of guerillas opened fire on the tiny Union outfit. As one soldier, then another fell to the spray of bullets, the pack mule was hit too. As the animal collapsed, the rider quickly grabbed the two leather pouches out of the strong boxes. Carrying the gold coins he headed deeper into the brush. Struggling under the weight of the gold, his escape was slow. As the renegades pushed up the mountain on foot after the men of the Fourth, the young man carrying the gold was hit. He fell down into a low, sunken ravine still holding the pouches. His body was swallowed up by leaves and the underbrush.
Most of the guerillas continued to the top of the mountain pursuing the fleeing Union soldiers but Jeremiah McCain saw the young man with the pouches fall. He quietly headed in that direction and saw the tip of a boot. Ever so carefully he crept up to the ditch. Satisfied this wasn’t a trap he plunged his hand into the shallow leaf covered grave. Dragging out the pouches McCain was astounded to find them filled with gold coins. He knew time was short. Soon his comrades would be coming back down the mountain. So McCain lugged the pouches a short distance, finding a small hole