90 Day Unit---15th Ohio Volunteers
15th Ohio Volunteer Infantry

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In The Footsteps of the 15th Ohio Volunteer Infantry


The 15th Ohio Volunteer Infantry was among the first to respond to the call of President Lincoln. Organized from April 17th through April 23, 1861, the regiment gathered at Camp Jackson in Columbus, Ohio and were mustered into the service of the State of Ohio on April 27, 1861. On May 4th, the 10 companies were organized into the 15th Ohio Volunteers with George Andrews as Colonel, Moses Dickey as Lt. Colonel, Silas B. Walker as Major, Orrin Ferris as Surgeon and J. B. Mowry as Asst. Surgeon. On May 1st, the regiment moved to Camp Goddard in Zanesville. Near the end of May, the regiment moved to Belliare on the Ohio River and prepared to cross over into West Virginia.

     The 15th's service during these campaigns was not marked by any unusual incidents. They saw action at Philippi on June 3, Laurel Hill on June 8 and Corrick's Ford on July 14, 1861. Most of their time was spent guarding the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. When the regiment reorganized into a 3 year unit, many of the officers and men from the the 90 day unit re-enlisted.


(The following newspaper articles are courtesy of David Torski and appeared in the Mansfield Semi-weekly Herald.)

MANSFIELD SEMI-WEEKLY HERALD--MAY 18, 1861

"Drum-Head Literature."--(Alf)

"Damon" Discourses upon the Ups and Downs of a Soldier's Life.

From our own Correspondent. Camp Jackson, May 12, 1861.

I feel bad-malaise is the French for it and an inquiring mind will seek a reason. An obliging correspondent will give one or more.

INFLUENCES OF CAMP-LIFE ON THE APPETITE.

     We fell in this morning to march up town, through an amiability-annihilating rain, to Captain Miller's favorite church, where we stopped two hour to drip off, and get a comfortable nap; after which the company returned to Camp, -excepting our new O.S. Colonel Armentrout, and myself. This unexceptionable trio filed off to the Goodale House, where we had the pleasure of grasping Mr. Colby by the hand.We hasd barely grasped, when he remarked, "Boys, lay off your blankets and take some dinner with me." Just seconds from the time "dinner" was distinctly heard, I had my blanket neatly folded and laid on a shelf, my hair arranged, mustache curled up to keep it out of my teeth, waistband unbuckled, and had "stepped off smartly with my left" (Hardee) on my way to the dining-room. Hungry as I was our valiant O.S., who is not more than ten pounds heavier than I am, ate at least as much again as the "Colonel" and I, and used his tooth-pick twice as long. I mention this incident to illustrate the influence of camplife on the amenities of society. At home, eating a dinner at another man's expense would be preceded by not less tham three pressing invitations, and as many positive refusals followed by graceful acceptance; but here we "stand not upon the order of our going, but go at once." We went to the "Esther Institute" after dinner, passing a few fleeting moments in the delightful society of two fair forms from Mansfield; then slowly tramped through the mud to our dens.

THE OPENING REMARKS EXPLAINED.

First, I wanted to sleep in church, but was watched and couldn't. Second, I reveled in the luxury of a hotel dinner, with niggers and clean napkins, and fragrant odors for surroundings, knowing in my bery soul that fragrant niggers-no, nspkins, and oders not recorded in Comstock of Silliman, would be my portion in camp.Third, I was convinced, after leaving the Institute, that the lack of feminine society is a terrible deprivation-but endurable; and last, but not least, the weather-chich is entirely beneath my contempt. All these add to my discomfort greatly.

WE REMOVE “ON A SUDDENT."

     ”Since my last we have moved from No. 9, Rotten Row, to No. 2, Dirty Avenue, one square from the Post Office. Our removal was “in this wise”: After dinner on Thursday last, our roof, which had shown premonitory symptoms of collapse, incontinently caved in. I was seated with my back against an umbrageous tree of some kind, immersed in the depths of Hardee, when I heard the crash. Lifting my eyes, I beheld from afar off “Alf,” the “big man on a retreat,” as Mitchell remarks, rushing frantically from the shed, with a pile of blankets high as his head on one arm, his traveling bag on the other, amazement in all its varied aspects pictured on his usually placid countenance, and a shower of mud flying in his wake. “Alf” went to war with the expectation of fighting, and if necessary dying a little for his beloved country. He had therefore no desire to submit to a powerful outside pressure, nor had “any other man,” for the rush was soon unanimous, and the human stream flowed up hill to our present quiet locality.

SLEEPING OUT O’ DOORS O’ NIGHT.

     W. M’B—and I, being dissatisfied with the confusion in-doors, one night resolved to spread our blankets on a board or two, ’neath the star-spangled canopy of high Heaven (very original), to test our “nerve.” The “twinkling little star” that Gen. M’Laughlin spoke of in his C. H. speech, winked benignantly at us, and not a cloud was visible when we sailed into the sea of oblivion (fine, isn’t it?). But how vain are human expectations (author unknown). We expected to slumber till daybreak, but were awakened by the fierce north wind surging through the swaying trees and our blankets, and the uproar of the venerable Old Boreas, you know, marshalling his hosts for the onslaught. Suffice it to say, if we didn’t “get up and dust,” we made a good attempt.RARE SPORTS IN VOGUE.The ancient Olympian games wouldn’t compare with the rare sports in vogue here. We indulge in ground and lofty tumbling, boxing, racing, jumping, climbing pickets to break guard, throwing mud, card playing—in every company but this, and any company that takes exception to this statement—and firing guns at a mark in platoons, with guns “en barbette,” standing on a platform raised about two feet from the ground to get a clear range. I came near neglecting “our dancing interest.” Terpsichore couldn’t dance in this crowd if she were still living. Our men trip the “light fantastic” like fawns, or thereabouts. Our jumper especially does the fancy figures in a peculiarly unique style, entirely contrary to the views inculcated by Brooks. “Alf.” is our great theoretical and practical adviser and instructor, and conducts us through the mazes in as scientific a manner as a professional adept at the high old art. He has done away with old things in part, and introduced new features. For instance, the first call in a common quadrille is—“First two forward, and countermarch by file right and left to place,” and the last is, “Break ranks—March!” We invested in a pair of boxing-gloves a few days ago, and everybody expressed an anxiety to try them on, the anxiety decreasing in proportion to the number of “dips in the snuffer.”————My interruptions have been so frequent that it is now Tuesday morning.

OUR EXAMINATION AND OUR DESTINATION.

     We were inspected yesterday, and sworn in—not a man being rejected. “Col.” Armentrout was the first high private called on to show his fine form and stately proportions. He underwent the examinations with becoming dignity, but wiped his forehead with an evident sense of relief when he returned to his place. Our jumper stepped out with the agility of a Bengal tiger. (We have a company of those animals in camp.) One look at his muscle passed him through. Before we were sworn in our destination was a mystery. By a careful inquiry I found that we were positively going to Camps Dennison, Harrison, and Scott; to Cairo, Marietta, Texas, Wheeling, Mansfield, and the Ohio Penitentiary—but the matter is now at rest: we leave for Zanesville to-morrow, perhaps.

ABOUT SHIRTS AND THOSE WHO SENT THEM.

     This morning we formed in a circle—a movement not recorded in Hardee—and solemnly awaited the approach of a huge box, borne upon the shoulders of two soldiers. With wildly throbbing hearts we gazed upon it, and anxiously watched the lips of our gallant Captain, in earnest expectation of his opening remarks—which followed the opening of the box. He spoke of shirts—shirts in the abstract and concrete, convincing us that shirts are good things in a family deprived of a cow, and then mentioned the gentleman who was most active in procuring the inner vestments, and the ladies whose untiring exertion has proved so beneficial to us. He then distributed the shirts, when cheer after cheer went up, and if every man wasn’t truly grateful they should go shirtless through life, and be buried in sheepskin. We thank you, Mr. Simmons, and the men in your employ, for your munificent liberality in our behalf. Nature’s noblemen are scarce, but you are one of them. We know you don’t approve of “soft soap,” therefore we won’t eulogize you before your mission is complete. But we like you, fellow-citizen; you have a place in our hearts; and we hope the grandchildren of all of us that expect to be married in the next year may point you out as a public benefactor. And the ladies—“may Heaven’s greatest blessing descend and abide with them.” If we don’t love you, then ————. I resolved myself into a committee of several to report our admiration for you, but I can’t do it, I have no dictionary. Wait until we get home, and then—well—just wait, will you?Out poet has just improvised a new stanza, adapted to the hymn entitled “Happy Land of Canaan”:O won’t there be a shoutWhen the Richland Guards go out:Camp Jackson ain’t the place to detain ’em.For all they get to eatIs beans and creeping meat—And it’s better in the happy land of Canaan.If it isn’t ’tis a’most.

Yours, truly, DAMON.

 Mansfield Semi—Weekly Herald — May 25, 1861

“Drum-Head Literature.” — (ALF.)

“Damon” Discourses upon the Ups and Downs of a Soldier’s Life.

From Our Own Correspondent.

CAMP GODDARD, Zanesville, May 20, 1861.

     Dear Herald—As our O. S. is trying to imagine a fife is a flute, his musical efforts so disturbs my mental faculities, that it is difficult for me to concentrate my talents as a writer on anything particular. A fife in these “piping times of peace” is a nuisance. I propose to indulge, my dear friends, in a brief retrospect of our existence for a few days, omitting dates, as dates are a bore, and confining myself, not so much to “glittering generalities,” as to the private life and adventures of Alf. and I, which will include of course, the chronicles of company H and its handsome officers. Within two hours of our departure from Camp Jackson, Capt. Miller accomplished more by his natural tact and energy, than any other man on the ground had done in a week. He procured the exchange of Dr. Mowry from the 18th to the 15th regiment, had W. McBride elected to the honorable post of color-bearer for the regiment, got our entire company into the penitentiary—and out again—he had an invitation, you know—and assisted Alf and I in the discussion of some nice beafsteak and radishes, at his own expese, then left us—we two, you observe—loose for two hours, and if we didn’t have a high old time, especially when we were in the dome of the State House, “we did a’most.” We ascended into that dome, accompanied by two young ladies, citizens of Mansfield, who were anxious to know how many steps there were between the first and last. Before we had turned seventy times (the stairs are circular) we were disgusted with the State House, and were completely “played out” when we reached the top. A magnificent panorama was spread out before, and in fact all around us, for descriptions of which you can refer to compositions of Esther Institute students, selected from Walter Scott, and adapted to the times in which we live. We revolved around the dome several times, then descended, the ladies effectually cleaning the stairs, and presenting an appearance the reverse of gaudy on reaching the basement. Before leaving Columbus I was presented by Miss Mary with a magnificent smoking (?) cap done up in red, white and blue, with stars around the band and stripes all over, and would have received a needlecase from Miss Nettie, but as there was no one in the Institute who had ever seen such a thing she was unable up to the time I left to get a pattern. Lest my friends should be grieved to think I had degenerated so far as to require a cap to smoke in, I will state that I don’t smoke, but I sleep sometimes, and use the cap as an ornament, and to keep my flowing locks from becoming disheveled; and lest some trifling persons, who are not fit for soldiers, should swear they have seen me smoke I will furthermore state, that in my varied experience I have at various times assumed the position of a smoker, as whole families have done, but as the last cigars I smoked was stuffed with dog-leg tobacco, I conceived such a distaste for the dirty weed that I abjured it forever.Alf. and I took a heart-rending stroll about Camp Jackson, before bidding adieu to the blissful scenes of that consecrated spot. Seated on a stump, with the last rays of the declining sun flickered around us, we discussed sundry subjects, among others, the girls we left behind us. We were unusually bitter on this topic. Alf. had gone to the P. O. about ten times in the preceding twenty-four hours—when twice would have been enough, fully hoping to received as many as five delicately written letters, but they didn’t come, and he was painfully fading away with grief. My expectations were not so great, but my disappointment was none the less. We finally concluded that we could do without money and clothes, without whisky, muskets and food, but letters we must have. Now, feminines of Mansfield, when you receive a letter from a friend in camp, reply before the inspiration that attends reading the interesting production entirely dies away, and you will gladden the hearts of your correspondents. Write, whether you are engaged to some man out of the camp—and no soldier—or not.We left Camp Jackson on last Thursday at 2 P. M., arriving in Zanesville at 6. I’m great on objective delineation, but I think it would be a waste of paper to say anything about this place. It’s a dirty town—just the reverse of Mansfield. The streets were crowded with handsome women waving handkerchiefs and smiling sweetly upon us, and the rear ranks were infested with many little ragged urchins who persisted in running against the point of my sword (I brandished Col. Dickey’s sword, and Alf. the scabbard) and calling “Left, left, left,” in every imaginable tone. I have not felt the importance of my position so much since joining the army.Camp life in reality began the morning after our arrival here (Camp Goddard). Corporal Zeely had the honor of cooking the first meal for our mess, being ably assisted by the inimitable Alf., who spilled all the pepper we had on the potatoes, making them look dirty and taste spicy. Venerable cooks have made worse coffee, and fried bacon in a less artistic style, but nobody, “or any other man,” ever enjoyed any breakfast more than we did that one. At dinner Frank D—s took charge of the bacon and served it up in curls as tight as cork-screws. The first meal your correspondent assisted in preparing, he burnt his fingers and the meat, boiled the potatoes in the coffee-pot, omitted salt and pepper—being unnecessary luxuries—and was blinded with smoke. Cooking is one part of my early education that was sadly neglected. I regret now that my worthy mother insisted on my entire devotion to drawing, painting and fancy embroidery, instead of placing me in the kitchen as soon as I could eat beef. You awkward squad of females, that talk of joining the “Home Guard,” why don’t you learn to cook? You would feel bored if Alf. and I could beat you cooking in less time than a week.Alf. was tired and sleepy by evening, and was endeavoring to “woo (what an idea) gentle slumber,” when he was unexpectedly detailed as corporal of the guard, and had to “turn out” and stay out nearly all night. He is a quick-witted youth, appreciates a joke highly, is fond of fun, can see a “point” as soon as any man, but when relieved from duty, he sat in his bunk at least fifteen minutes, with his eyes fixed on vacancy, trying to see where the laugh came in, but couldn’t. Of course we went to church yesterday, and as soldiers are not as common here as in Columbus, we attracted a good deal of observation. An old soldiers, who served in the second Punic war, said he never saw a better drilled company. I think so too. We behaved ourselves with becoming propriety, under the infliction of a soporific sermon, and marched out to the tune of the “Star Spangled Banner,” played in a style that I never heard equalled. Before leaving the church, Mr. Fillmore, one of the vestry, offered to supply Capt. Miller with Bibles for the company, but our worthy Captain assured Mr. Fillmore, that we had any quantity of Bibles, that we were a Bible company—a’most, and a temperate community also, that we wouldn’t get drunk under any consideration whatever, and if he (Fillmore), or any other citizen of Zanesville, ever saw an inebriated person filing right and left through the streets they could set him down as a Wolverine and not a Millerite. We had another grand distribution of blankets Saturday, and a few interesting remarks from our Captain, and a great many cheers for the ladies of Mansfield and Messrs. Avery, Colby and Simmons. Gentlemen if you will go about doing good, you shall shine before men if I can add any to your light. We thank you sincerely for your liberality, and will endeavor to repay, in part, your kindness by fighting for your “altars and your fires,” and remaining true to our country “and our rations.” We could write a great many “resolutions” for your Sunday reading, but we think resolutions are great humbugs and a simple acknowledgement much more appropriate.Several of our men are sick. Fat bacon and extraordinary cooking don’t agree with them,—but it agrees with our mess. We number eight of the most vindictive eaters on the ground. Our O. S. is a mess in himself, and Alf., Sergeant Zoely, Corporal Dickey,—a big feeder,—N. C. Dickey, Tom Armstrong—a good fellow and an “excellent provider”—Frank Dubois—our perpendicular man—and myself complete the squad. Some of our regiment are good at accumulating chicken feathers—I never see chicken. Yesterday a scamp without fear of a court-martial stole a board from Corporal Dickey while he was sitting on it. HERALD, if any man in Mansfield is anxious to know what a “feast of reason and flow of soul” means, let him leave the “Home Guard” and bunk with the following gentlemen: Capt. Miller, First Lieutenant Dawson, Second Lieutenant Avery, O. S. Ritter, Corporal Philips, alias Alf., and myself—leaving room for just one more,—and he will find the feast begins to flow at about 8 P. M. and ceases at 10, and what a jolly time we have with our little “goaks.” We open a fresh ration nearly every evening and pass it around, taking the greater portion to ourselves, but giving our neighbors a smell, at least. We will probably remain here, getting dirtier every day, and ruining our clothes, and when our time is out will be expected to re-enlist for three years, as Capt. Miller wishes us all to go, and of course we will. Won’t sombody send us something to spread on our dry bread?—and oblige,Yours truly, DAMON.

Mansfield Semi—Weekly Herald — June 12, 1861

Drum-Head Literature.”“Damon” Discourses upon the Ups and Downs of a Soldier’s Life.

From Our Own Correspondent.

GRAFTON, June 7, 1861.

Dear Herald :—We have passed through many trial and tribulations since my last, and though in a worried state of mind and body I will endeavor to relate our varied experience in my usual erratic way.We left Camp Goddard in haste, May 29, and marched through Zanesville with great applause and numerous crowds following us. When within half a mile of the depot Alf. discovered S. Witter, and in his usual winning way invited him to buy us a lunch, and he bought it. Alf. marched about four rods with four pies under his arm and six eggs in his coatpocket, but in the next twenty rods he had eaten his share and was commencing on mine when I relieved him of the load. When opposite the Stacey House a fair creature called W. McBride to her side and place on the spear-head of his standard a beautiful boquet, and elevated amid the largest imaginable cheers. I endeavored to learn the lady’s name but failed.I have just thought of a small joke that occurred about an hour before leaving camp. While at Camp Jackson a trio of young ladies—Mansfield ladies of course—sent a box of good things to three young men (names unmentionable, but well known at home) and in the box was a bottle labelled Champaye, with three small tin cups marked “My Boy,” tied around the neck. Capt. C—s took charge of the bottle with the expectation of opening it on some auspicious occasion. That time didn’t arrive till the morning we left Camp Goddard when the Captain with all due solemnity drew the bottle from its hiding place, where it had been guarded with jealous care, and proceeded to circulate. As liquors are not always pure, Alf. was appointed a committee of one to make a chemical analysis of the substance, and unhesitatingly pronounced it a prime article of water. The general expression of the captain’s face at that critical moment was comic, at least, and worthy of a place in Vanity Fair. Champagne has not been mentioned since.We left Zanesville in a lot of “second hand coffins” and met with no incident worthy of note before reaching Bellair, except at Barnesville where Lieut. Avery, with malice prepense and aforethought, kissed a young lady who had only expected to shake hands with him. A few moments after reaching Bellair a man told us that Jeff. Davis and 40,000 men were on the Virginia side and would massacre us without regard to age, name, or place of residence. Alf. told him that we had come to start a cemetery, and Virginia would be as good a place as any he knew of.We crossed the Ohio, May 30, and tarried twenty-four hours at Benwood when we were ordered to take the cars for some unknown point. When we arrived at Moundsville, about ten miles from Benwood, we were ordered back, much to our dissatisfaction for Moundsville is the place for a man with Union proclivities to enjoy life. We were feasted and cheered, and solicited to correspond with sundry fair ones, but as the government wont supply us with paper and we can’t “borrow” enough to write to our friends at home we will have to deny ourselves that pleasure. On our way back some little profanity was indulged in by our swearing men. The “our” in this letter has reference to the 15th regiment, not to company H.May 31, we started again and succeeded in reaching Burton, about 60 miles from Benwood. All along the route we were received with the most enthusiastic demonstrations of joy, and some places the citizens appeared almost insane with excitement. At one place a woman jumped about 2½ feet from the floor as rapidly as she could make the frantic movements, and clapped her hands and fairly howled, while others of a subdued demeanor appeared to be calling down blessings on us. We raised our tents at Burton for the first time, and endeavored to accommodate ourselves to circumstances. Scouting parties were sent out every day and several “seceshers” were captured, but released when they took the Union oath. Alf. took a squad out, and after a hard tramp, took two women, brought them into camp and showed them around, then released them with his blessing. They appeared to enjoy themselves very much, and rode off in an undoubted happy frame of mind. Geese were plucked at Burton, and cows were cornered and milked in canteens, and whisky was bored for. That whisky arrangement was a good one. The stuff was in a warehouse, and closely guarded by a teetotaler, but the boys by a series of sharp mathematical calculations discovered the exact lotality of it, bored up through the floor, and “struck” whisky in inebriating quantities. The joke was fine while it lasted, but it did not last long.An original genius, named John Bell, weight 240 pomnds, occupation farmer, was in camp every day making himself agreeable, and expressing himself fluently. He and his brother were for a long time the only Lincoln men in Belton and have been repeatedly threatened with hanging, but were not hung, and now the ancient man is rejoiced to have so many backers, and mixes in with officers and privates in a very jolly way. When introduced he said: “I am John B-b-b-ell of B-b-belton, and not John B-b-bell of T-t-tenessee, by G—d.” We discovered a picture of John Tyler, late of the United States, and subjected it to various indignities, winding up by cramming it down a crab hole.We left Burton June 3d, and camped here. We had barely pitched our tents when the news of the great “battle of Phillippi” reached us, and we were immediately ordered to pack two days provisions in our sacks, gird up our loins, and start in pursuit of the enemy. We were filled with the spirit of glory yet to be achieved, and marched out with light hearts and heavy traps. At 10 o’clock P. M. clouds and black darkness encircled us, and torrents of rain beat against us, but we stood up bravely under the infliction and waded through the cloggy mud, cheered by the prospect of meeting an abandoned foe in every defile, and plenty of plunder at Phillippi. Alf. immortalized himself by carrying two guns most of the way, thereby relieving footsore and played-out men. He also acted as guide to Captains Miller and Wilson, by holding the butt of one gun with a handkerchief tied around it, in the air, so that they could see it. I have traveled in several parts of the globe and never saw darkness quite so dense.When we arrived at the outside picket guard, we had to stand in the rain about an hour to persuade the men to let us pass. But the thick head stood his ground and yelled for the Corporal of the guard, and echo took up the cry making the hills fairly ring with the unusual sound. We final- got through and took the wrong road, of course, leading us square in the fire of the Sturges Battery. The sentinel was just ready to fire on us, when he discovered his mistake, and began to swear with great rapidity. Our Adjutant told him there was no use in profanity, as we had a dozen men in the regiment who could swear him blind in five minutes.After a great deal of unnecessary delay we marched into Phillippi at 1 o’clock A. M. and quartered in a secession store, Alf and I turned in on a counter, side by side, and about as close as Siamese twins. Lieut. Avery spread his blanket on the same counter, and laid his revolver on it as a warning to would-be evil doers, but in less than ten minutes that efficient weapon was stolen. Our perpendicular man couldn’t possibly sleep with his boots on, and some wretch took them thinking Frank had no further use for them. Many things were stolen in a short time, showing remarkable dexterity on the part of some unknown “cuss.” In the morning, after breakfasting on bread and water, I strolled around in search of items relating to the great battle.Monday morning at 5 o’clock, the 9th and 14th Ohio, 16th Indiana, and 1st Virginia regiments proposed to come down on the Phillippians like a “wolf on the fold” and clean them out root and branch, but by some unfortunate error, Sturges fired about ten minutes before the enemy were surrounded—tearing a hole in a barn, cutting a man’s leg off and infusing any quantity of propelling energy into the “seceshers,” who commenced a big run, closely followed by our troops. In their haste the rebels forgot a few things—of no importance to them I suppose—such as horses, arms, ammunition, clothes, household furniture and public documents.There are so many great lies in circulation that I can’t possibly give you a bill of particulars. Col. Kelley of the first Virginia regiment led the advance, and was shot through the left breast two inches above the heart. His wound is not considered mortal. Several seceders are supposed to have been killed in this hunt although no one has yet seen any dead bodies. As our valiant troops charged down Main street two young ladies, Annie and Mattie McC—y, waved a secession flag from a window of their residence, and when told to take it in or be shot, said “blaze away.” Their father was about the first man captured, but was released. Lieut. Avery and I cultivated their acquaintance through the medium of a piano belonging to them that I got permission to play on. They are real beauties, with the brightest eyes I ever saw, and are intelligent and amiable girls—if they are against U. S. We endeavored to convert them but failed utterly. The truth is if we had remained in Phillippi a month we would have seceded—perhaps. They took the greatest possible care of our sick men and kept “open house” for whoever wanted to go in. Avery and I promised to visit them next November—no preventing Providence. They are brave girls and I like them and I don’t care who knows it. I intend to send them the first HERALD I get.Tuesday morning we left Phillippi—Captain Miller taking the lead and keeping it—arriving here at noon. We are constrained at times to think of the 40,000 men that marched up a hill and marched down again, but we forbear giving vent to our private views.Let us now have warlike topics and speak of Government breeches. They are an infamous swindle, I discarded mine to-day and put on my time honored gray suit, Alf is so disgusted with his pants that he has broken out in the “rash,” as he calls it, although I supposed that he had had the “infantiles” at an early age. One of our men had the left leg of his trowsers blown completely away by a gust of wind. Many inexpressibles were ruined at the battle of Phillippi. Capt. Miller sent two copies of the ruined articles to the State Department to be filed away in the archives.The inexpressible Johnson—Our Capt.’s right bower and the getter up of good things—says tea is ready. So am I. Now HERALD allow me to express my indignation. I hear that some have started the report at home that Capt. Miller is unpopular with his company. A greater lie (that’s the word) was never invented. I don’t believe there is a man in the company who wouldn’t go straight to the d—l (in a warlike sense) if our gallant Captain would lead the way for him.

Yours, truly, DAMON

 Mansfield Semi—Weekly Herald — June 26, 1861

THE DESCENT ON ROWLESBURG.BY DAMON.

     [The attacking part of the “pome,” and our complete victory was an actual dream. I wrote this on the great Cheat river viaduct, while acting as sergeant of the guard, and protecting that grand work of art from “perils by fire,” and “seceshers.” We stood on guard 24 hours. You see war has not entirely destroyed my scribbling propensities.]“The shades of night were falling fast.”And had been falling for several hours,And naught was heard save the mountain blast,And the sentinel’s trampAround the camp;And guarded by all watchful powersWe slept secure upon our arms;—I had my left arm under my head,For such was my dread,Of nerve-affecting War’s alarms,That I left my gun with “Alf.,” “you know,”And slid for the “Traveler’s Rest.”“But, hark!”—Dry up a moment! LowMurmuring sounds from the misty West,Salute our ears,And, as it appears,Verifying our dubious fearsOf a night attack, for savage menSwarmed from every leafy glen,And “drapped” down the mountain side,And rushed on us with dread intent,As though they meantTo reduce the overwhelming prideOf company H,—but “Alf.” and Miller,And De Witt C. B—, the desperate killer,With his bayonet fixed, and his gun IDouble-loaded, were there, and undoneThe “seceshers,” and virtually blastedThe hopes of the of the hangman, and whileThe sanguinary engagement lasted,Killed men enough to patch a mileOf Pluto’s dominions,—Where Southern opinionsAre dominant and toddy unknown.One rebel called with a painful moan,For a “corkscrew to draw his breath,”And punned himself to the gates of death,While another,—The other one’s brother,—Said “Kiss me for my ‘Uncle,’” and sayThat at some very early dayMy regulation pants will payHis little bill,And bury me on the vine-clad hill,Or low in the valley where the rillRipples merrily, and the WhippoorwillPlaintively cries;And close my eyesTenderly, boys, and tell my wife,—Light of my eyes and life of my life,—That ’tis to meJoy to be free,To roam where the fields are ever green;And say that I kept my toe-nails clean,And died like an F. F. V.A bayonet thrust near the small of my backThrew my thoughts from the beaten track,Awoke me from my warlike dream And gave me a joke for a rhyming theme.

 Mansfield Semi—Weekly Herald — June 29, 1861

Drum-Head Literature.”“Damon” Discourses upon the Ups and Downs of a Soldier’s Life.

From Our Own Correspondent.

ROWLESBURG, Va., June 18, 1861.

    DEAR HERALD : Mansfield’s “crack company,” the pride of Madison Township, the glory of Richland county, and defender of the sovereign State of Ohio, “have been and gone and done it.”Col. Andrews telegraphed Capt. Miller that he would be here at 12 o’clock yesterday, accompanied by a U. S. officer, for the purpose of “taking the sense of the company” on the three years question. The sense of our company is considerable, and a whole staff couldn’t take it, which will account for Col. Andrews not getting it. We assembled in gorgeous array at 11 A. M., with our boots blacked, hair brushed, and in good shape generally, marched to the depot, preceded by martial music and a large flag, strung ourselves out in a line, and presented arms, when the train arrived, to Capt. Cummins and Charley Johns, who were riding on the cow-catcher.Col. Andrews was accompanied by his daughter, a charming young lady reported to be not much over sixteen, and Miss Bean, of Grafton. We put on an unusual quantity of “airs,” expanded our chests, tried to look handsome—and did, carried our heavy guns at a shoulder five minutes, before letting them into a lopendicular position, and executed the left oblique movements in accordance with every authority in Christendom, each man choosing his authority. It is impossible for the O. V. M. to oblique when a woman is in sight.We marched to quarters, had a political hand-shaking with the Colonel, and were dismissed for dinner. The shaking of hand is a “big thing.” Colonel A. greeted me very cordially here, probably because I had my new velvet stripes on, or my regulation bobtail; for I was in Grafton a few days ago, before I was ornamented with stripes, and he didn’t recognize me at all. We took charge of Capt. Cummins and Charlie, and went to the “Traveler’s Rest” to feed. One solitary chicken of moderate dimensions was on the table when we sat down, but evidences of chicken were scarce when we arose.—There is nothing particularly funny in that narration, but the gratifying, soul-stirring smile comes in about where Captain Miller and his guests came in, expecting to find chicken, but they didn’t, you know. We were innocently picking our teeth with our bayonets on the back “stoop” when they arrived, but went through sundry circumlocutary movements in a brief period, and escaped recognition. We paused a moment in the general receiving room while I wrote on two slips of paper “Compliments of Alf. and Damon,” and pinned them in the hats of the young ladies.At 1 P. M. we formed in line of battle and listened to a stirring speech from Lieut. Dawson. Our gay Lieut. number one, spoke as if he were interested in his subject, and about exhausted the arguments in favor of going for three years. His remarks were followed by those of Capt. Miller and our festive Lieut. number two, R. Lord Avery. O. S. Ritter made a few remarks that brought down the ceiling. Among other things, he said he would go with the company, and he did. I didn’t expect to be called on for a speech, and I wasn’t. Finally, Col. Andrews said something or other, then Capt. Miller called on those who were willing to go foy three years to step boldly out of the ranks, when lo! two whole men, able-bodied though care-worn, precipitated themselves into the yawning three years gulf. (Mr. Leggett of Zanesville stepped out also, but he is not yet enrolled with our company.)The unanimous refusal of Company H to go for any longer time than they agreed to arises from a variety of causes, but dissatisfaction with our officers is assuredly not one of them. Of course each man in authority has a few private enemies. Even a modest unassuming little Sergeant like myself, for instance, has one or two cool acquaintances.—One brindly-whiskered, straight-haired, puck-mouthed, whining “purp” said “that several more men would have enlisted at Camp Godard if I hadn’t stepped out first.” I am inclined to think he lied, though I wouldn’t want it generally known. Singular remark too, for I never had any acquaintance with the man, haven’t now, and don’t want to have.The great State of Ohio is chiefly to blame for our action, and that of the Ohio troops generally. I date the dissatisfaction from the day we first beheld the Indiana troops. They were well dressed, whereas we had but a pair of pale blue pants, that had already begun to rip. They had Minie rifles with straps to them—we hadn’t; they had hats gaily cocked up on one side—we had pasteboard caps; they had plenty to eat, we had to “lie in wait and steal from the enemy;” they were pushed forward, we were retained to guard bridges and swear in rebels who were caught in camp. Until within two weeks we have been ragged, poorly fed, or not fed at all, and have devoted our entire energies to standing on guard and killing gnats. As soon as arms were placed in our hands we were rushed into an enemy’s country, and that before we knew the breech from the bore. We have been guarding bridges day and night for three weeks, each squad of men standing twenty-four hours at a time, and, on account of the limited number of companies here, three times a week, which makes it bad for the squads, you know. The Crestline boys are nearly all railroad men—they are fond of railroading, but this suits them a little too well. They will contract to guard all the bridges in Virginia if they can do that and nothing else, but they are opposed to being drilled all day, and bored all night by mosquitoes on the Cheat river viaducts.Again: a large number of company H are business men who left their affairs in such a shape that three months absence wouldn’t damage them at all, perhaps, but three years would knock them to the altitude of Gilderoy’s kite. Others, especially the Hayesville boys, have partially completed their education and want to finish it, and as education to a professional man is as dry goods and groceries to a merchant, I don’t blame them. They think three years service would reduce them to a state of “gibbering idiocy.” Others are the main staff and support of aged parents or numerous young sisters, and deem it their duty to see to their welfare first, and that of their country next. Some claim its nobody’s business what they go home for, and some want to see their mothers. As an inducement to go for three years it is stated that the solid men of Mansfield will turn the cold shoulder to us on our return. Solid men, don’t you do it, we might not appreciate it, and then you would feel bored. Another idea is, the citizens of Mansfield have spent a good deal of money on our account and we have done nothing for it. Citizens, if we haven’t spent more money for food, lost more “traps,” had more things stolen, sacrificed more generally, then you have, we will take up a collection from you as soon as we return home and repay you. We desire to change places with the “Home Guards” for a brief season. Suffice it to say this company H will be at home within the next six weeks, no preventing Providence.Captain Miller was a few days ago offered the command of a cavalry company, but as they were to remain in the State of Virginia he would not accept. He intends to remain with our company and see them safe through, and take them home in good shape. I don’t know whether he expects to raise another company or not. I can truly say that he has done more for this company, and has been more faithful to his trust than any Captain in the 15th regiment, and Lieutenants Dawson and Avery have ably assisted him.Yours truly, DAMON.

Mansfield Semi—Weekly Herald — July 3, 1861

Drum-Head Literature.“Damon” Discourses upon the Ups and Downs of a Soldier’s Life.

From Our Own Correspondent.

 ROWLESBURG, Va., June 24, 1861.

DEAR HERALD :—Last Tuesday as E. Crandall was strolling in the environs of this retreat, he lifted up his eyes and beheld afar off a Son of Malta quietly browsing on the gentle slope of a verdure stricken mound. He immediately conceived the idea of emulating the daring exploits of Don Quixote, and immediately confiscated an ancient saddle and bridle, set out in hot pursuit of the mule, captured him and made a triumphant entry into camp. His choice of a squire was an excellent one, and reflected great credit on his skil at detecting the peculiar characteristics and necessary qualifications of a squire in this wooden country. Chas. Telley was the favored youth, and his first great duty was to seek and find a mule—a substantial mule—for Charles isn’t small, in order that he might follow his master with becoming dignity, and spare his boots. The Don and Sancho then extended a cordial invitation to Mike Ricksicker, our acrobatic man and prince of jumpers, and Wm. Scott, to accompany them into the back territory of Virginia in quest of Virginians not represented in the Wheeling Convention. Mike and Will supplied themselves with horses, and away the jolly quartette galloped, up the Cheat River turn-pike, in the most exaggerated style of “played out” knight-errants.Their course was onward, like young Excelsior’s, until their career was ended by a forest of massive trees laid at several angles across the road, and intended as a barrier against the approach of rebel forces—the whole designed and executed by our ever-to-be-remembered Lieut. Avery. As the quadrupeds paused rather suddenly, the bipeds involuntarily assumed a position unsanctioned by Rarey, but soon regained their foundations. They were bounded on the right by an ascent, in front by trees, on the left by a descent that terminated in Cheat river. They chose the descent. Then ensued a scene that throws description into bankruptcy. Suffice it to say, the mules went down in a position eminently detrimental to the best interests of their spinal extensions, the horses were as awkward as so many girls, and the whole party went pell mell into the river, where the water is six feet deep. They had to wade 300 yards before they effected a landing. After riding about ten miles they discovered a clue to the whereabouts of a noted “secesh” captain, and in an hour they were in sight of the rural cot, and the captain and lady(?) also, who were taking a short walk. The boys rode quietly on, dismounted, tied their horses, and met the team at their own gate. Charlie assumed the responsibility of inviting them into the house and conversing fluently with them on several entertaining topics, among others pleasure trips and things. Said Charles, addressing the male “secesher:” “Won’t you allow me the pleasure of your company to Rowlesburg; you find the horse—you know—and we will find the escort.”“I haint got time to go to-day,” said the male, “and besides, my woman can’t spare me.”“But,” said Charles, “take a few moments to mediate on the moral powers and propelling influence of those triangular ‘doins’ fixed on the end of our guns, and you will probably change your mind. You know that the only difference detween a man and a jack-horse is that a man can change his mind and a jack-horse can’t.“Well—upon the whole—I don’t know—yes, I guess I’ll go,” said the captain. The female thought there was room for a few remarks, and said in a firm alto voice, “Well! you are a fool—I always thought you was—I’ll just be d—d if I’d go a step, and if you do go I’ll put on a pair of your Sunday breeches and foller you to h—l and back, if you go that fur.”Picture it—think of it,—you fair beings at home—an angelic female women, a woman with a great deal turned up for feet, making such a terrible threat, and then remember that this paragon is an F. F. V.—“or a’most.” Our bully boys secured the captain’s commission—in which regiment was spelt “ridgement”—mounted the Capt. on one of his own horses, and then left, followed by a shower of ponderous anthemas from the female. The captain was shipped to Grafton, for trial, yesterday.This affair was more important in results than the St. George trip. The boys caught a captain and kept him, instead of scaring him into a Union oath and then releasing him, and they made one horse clear of all expenses. Telley showed me a bunch of ten keys this morning, all used to lock that very horse in a burglar-proof barn. They didn’t take a flag, but they can make a better one in an hour than any of those taken at St. George.Since the three years’ call to the unconcerned—spoken of in my last—we have become exceedingly lazy. Some can hardly be induced to eat; they put in nearly all their time sleeping. We have discovered that it is too hot for drilling through the day, and we cannot drill at night, you know, because there is no room that is large enough to hold us, and if there were, there would be no boys.We were agreeably re-inforced a few days ago by the advent of Mrs. Miller, late of Mansfield. She is thoroughly acclimated by this time, and takes to a soldier’s life as naturally as does a friend of mine to peppermint with a straw in it—when he can get it, but he can’t get it in the army, you know. She brought a lot of fine strawberries, formerly the property of Mr. Colby. I could not eat any of them with sugar and cream on—O! no—they were too rich.Don’t look for any more letters from me till something happens to write about, camp life in general is hardly worth being “recorded.”Yours truly, DAMON.

     Mansfield Semi—Weekly Herald — August 3, 1861

Drum-Head Literature.“Damon” Concludes his Discourses upon the Ups and Downs of a Soldier’s Life.

COLUMBUS, O., July 26.

     DEAR HERALD:—The chronicles of company H close with this letter. I intend to give an abstract of our movements since leaving Rowlesburg—to mention incidents that have occurred during our eventful campaign—to speak of divers persons in a particular way—and shall do all this without any regard to dates, or order of events.When we received orders to march from Rowlesburg our indignation was immense. We had been living on the fat of the land, and from guarding bridges for five long weeks, we had become lazy from force of habit; had ceased from drilling and playing leap-frog; had entered into amicable relations with the fair forms of the village; and were waiting for several turkeys in the neighborhood to get ripe, when a “military necessity” called us away.Before leaving this delectable spot, it was considered important that we should form in front of the “Saint’s Rest,” to show the delighted citizens how pretty we looked in a row, and to cheer them for their kindness when they should have cheered us. We paid for all we got there.Cheat river pass is a charming spot, commanding a fine view of the sky, and affording excellent advantages for lumbermen. At the head of this pass Colonel Irvine had built a huge barricade, intended—as I supposed on inspecting the ground—to dam up a small stream that rippled through the valley.It was at this point, that a correspondent of the Cincinnati Gazette, named Reed, said that “a squad of cowards from the 15th regiment, fired into the company that were conveying the body of General Garnett to Rowlesburg.” De Witt C. Beach, of Crestline, was acting as Corporal of the picket guard that night, and when he heard this boisterous crew approaching, singing their bacchanalian songs with a whisky foundation, he ordered his men to fire into the air, and ran to camp and gave the alarm. Our boys soon discovered who the enemy were, brought them into camp, fed them, made hot coffee for them and treated them with distinguished consideration, and this contemptible low-lived “purp” of a Reed, returned the compliment by styling them “a pack of cowards.” If this Reed don’t want to be “shaken by the wind,” let him carefully avoid Crestline and Mansfield, for if Beach, Telley, Sarr, Crandall or our esteemed O. S. get their claws on him, he will be a broken Reed, and no more music will emanate from him.The above affair took place the second night after the main body of Company H had left in pursuit of the rebels who had fled from Laurel Hill.Our first day’s tramp brought us to the famous Red House. We got comfortably quarters at Chisholm’s Mill, and waited twenty-four hours for Gen. Hill to make a movement. This distinguished, kind-hearted soul was only waiting to give the rebels a fair start, not wishing to take any unjust advantage of them, you know. Peace be with you, Hill. We marched up with you and marched down again; the king of France did no more than that, and he is remembered in Mother Gooses History. Ever-to-be-forgotten, never-to-be-remembreed Hill, farewell.Our next day’s tramp was only 29 miles. We halted at 2 o’clock on a damp chilly morning, and the whole column—about 3,000 men—laid down in the road and slept. Lieuts. Dawson and Avery, and I, went to the rear to see if we could find a baggage wagon that was not crowded with humans. We succeeded in securing a position on the hind end of a wagon containing cooking utensils and bacon. Dawson tried to curl up on the bottom of a camp kettle but could not do it. Avery rested sweetly with his right ribs rasping against the corner of a box, the pommel of his sword rubbing his left ribs, and his head on a bag of bread, while I was sandwiched between the gentlemanly officers, with my elbow four inches in a flitch of fat bacon and my head on Avery’s manly bosom. Of course I couldn’t sleep, and didn’t want to study astronomy; therefore I arose in my might and walked through the sleeping army to study horizontal human nature, and ascertain which regiment snored the loudest. While engaged in this solemn occupation a kicking sleeper struck the hammer of his gun, and the thing exploded, shooting a horse through the neck and tearing off a man’s toe. I was walking towards the horse at the time, and was very nearly in range of the bullet. We resumed our useless march at 6 o’clock, and halted at 10, for breakfast—consisting of crackers and coffee. It is unnecessary to give details of our daily exercises. We marched eight days before reaching Oakland—four days after the rebels and four away from them.On the return march the men walked mechanically, stepping out with the Zouave swing, their eyes generally fixed on the ground, and a dull immobile expression of supreme indifference to everything, and utter disgust at the backward way. Hill had gone forward—pervading every face. If all the curses that were uttered on that trip are recorded it will make it bad for the grand army. We left Oakland on the 21st and arrived at Columbus about midnight of the 25th.Now for a few random items of the campaign. While in Rowlesburg, a certain Capt. Layton, conceived the extraordinary design, one day, of making a fool of himself. It wasn’t hard to do, but he did it. He took a squad of men, went to the top of “Farmer’s Knob,” and hoisted the Stars and Stripes on a stump. That would have been ever so romantic, you know, if the sap-head hadn’t pinned the flag up so that but three stripes were visible—making a secesh rag of it. The camp was in commotion in a very short time; men were running to and fro, and woman looked pale and anxious, and several actually took refuge in cellars. Lieut. Stidger,—as brave a man as there is in Virginia—asked permission of his Captain to take a squad of men and reconnoiter the supposed enemy’s position. This Captain graciously permitted Stidger to go, knowing at the same time who were on the mountain—thus making himself a party to the senseless joke. Stidger approached to within twenty feet of Layton before before a mutual recognition took place. Of course the Lieutenant was mortified very much. No one would have blamed him if he had perforated Layton like a pepper box. To show how much the joke was appreciated it is merely necessary to state that nothing but the clemency of Col. Andrews prevented Layton from being court-martialed and broken of his commission. The high flavored Captain wrote a glowing, ungrammatical account of his silly expedition in the Auglaize County Democrat. In the same letter he took particular pains to state that the Cincinnati Gazette’s account of our St. George trip was written by one of our own Lieutenants. Dawson and Avery took the festive “cuss” aside and made him apologize, and promise to take back what he had said, over his own signature in the Wapakonetta paper. We think he won’t do it. We take this opportunity to say soBlack, Sarr, and Telley, was one night detailed to guard a slaughter-house in Rowlesburg. It is highly probably they didn’t like the contract. They drove stakes in the ground near the door of the shanty, clothed them, fixed a musket in a proper position, then went to sleep. A little before daybreak the meat man approached cautiously, whistled two or three times, called once or twice, and finally undertook to arouse the listless guard. It is reported that some lofty old swearing was done about that time.At another time one of our boys saw a man approaching, and halted him. “Who goes there?” asked the guard. “Friend.” said the outsider. “It’s a d—d lie,—I have no friends” said the cynical guard.Company H have had a pleasant campaign, taking it on average. We have been through some hardships, been bored by several forced marches, have endured a good deal of rest—we could just do that—but after all we “just more than had fun.” We had no quarrels among ourselves worth noticing, have acquired quite a reputation for good behavior, intelligence, piety and other accomplishments, and will go home with the good will and respect of the majority of the officers and men of the 15th. Lieut. Dawson has been quite unwell for a for a few days past. He is very popular with our company and regiment, so is Lieutenant Avery. Long may he wave.  Yours truly, DAMON.

COLONEL MOSES R. DICKEY-FIRST COMMANDER OF THE 15TH OHIO


Born in Richland Co., Ohio November 4, 1837. At the age of 16, he determined to enter into the profession of law.In May of 1846, he enlisted as a private in Co. A, 3rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry for the Mexican war. He mustered out in New Orleans in June of 1847. In 1849, Dickey left for California to take part in the Gold Rush. On his return to Ohio in 1851, he was shipwrecked off the coast Central America but all hands were saved. He attended school at Hayesville University and in 1854 joined the law firm of Brinkerhoff and Geddes. In April of 1861 he began to raise a company of men to answer President Lincoln's call to arms. He was appointed Lt. Col of the 15th Ohio Volunteers for three months duty. Mustered out on August 7, 1861, he was commissioned Colonel of the 15th OVI. He was afflicted with chronic diarrhoea while in the service in 1862 and resigned upon the suggestion from army doctors. He returned to Mansfield to resume his law practice. In 1876, he was elected judge of the common pleas court. Judge Dickey was married in March of 1857 to Margaret M. Simmons and the couple had four children. He remarried in June of 1874 to Harriet H. Todd and had one child by her. Moses Dickey died in Mansfield on July 15, 1913 and is buried in that city.