Sunday, April 19, 2015

Civil War -- Butler County, Ohio

Civil War photo from
Some odds-and-ends on the Civil War, as if we actually "covered" it in these blog entries. The conflict, from 1861 through 1865, and for years later during the reconstruction phase and ongoing bitterness, was perhaps unique in world history.

Finding your own path through that history is effectively something you might just have to do on your own. The links and snippets are interesting in their own right, designed to at least touch on the reality of the time.

But the Civil War is hardly a "southern" event or a "Gettysburg moment." For your own search, don't stop at the state line.

In Butler County, Ohio, historian Jim Blount has "oodles" of interesting facts about the beginning of western society in the Whitewater Valley, and his Civil War essays are enlightening as well.

Blount did his own digging about the Civil War.

"At least 4,400 Butler County men had served in the Union army or navy in all regions of action. According to calculations by James E. Campbell, a local Civil War veteran who later became governor of Ohio, two out of every three men of military age in the county served in the Union cause at one time or another. Campbell estimated there were 6,544 men of military age among the county's 35,840 residents at the start of the war."

Campbell, writing in 1915, emphasized that most Butler Countians were volunteers, not draftees. "The counties of the state had furnished, on an average, 35% of their enrollment" when the first draft was held Oct. 1, 1862, he said. But Butler County "had sent to the field over 42% . . . being 337 men more than her full quota up to that time. She was, therefore, one of the 13 counties (out of 88) in which no draft was ordered."

Campbell's research concluded that many soldiers also served in Indiana regiments as well as at least a dozen other states. Since Butler County is directly across the state line from Franklin County, Ind., one can assume that if you go searching for war records, you may want to expand your geography.

And in the battle for Cincinnati in September, 1862, "Hundreds of Butler County men were among those short-term volunteers known as Squirrel Hunters when Cincinnati was threatened with invasion." In that defense, Indiana Gen. Lew Wallace was credited with designing a plan to repel the Confederate army.

Butler County volunteers also fought against John Hunt Morgan’s Confederate cavalry when it passed between Hamilton and Cincinnati in July, 1863.

Blount's history explores the circumstances surrounding the Confederate surrender in April, 1865, when Gen. Robert E. Lee met with U.S. Grant.

"Some troops," wrote historian E. B. Long, "refused the surrender terms and scattered to Mexico, the Far West or just went home. There were operations in Texas and on the Rio Grande by the Federal Army for most of the rest of 1865 against guerrillas and former Confederates escaping into Mexico," said Long in his 1971 book, The Civil War Day by Day.


FOLD3.COM (war research link)

Robert J. Templeton's 
Civil War index card. 

No comments:

Post a Comment