The 125th Ohio Volunteer Infantry of the Army of the Cumberland and soon to gain the sobriquet "Tigers" for its role in the Battle of Chickamauga in September 1863, was encamped on Aug. 26 in Sequatchee Valley, Tenn., just 26 miles from enemy-held Chattanooga. The regiment had begun its march south with its division, the 1st Division of the XXI Corps, on Aug. 16, the beginning of the Chattanooga Campaign. Its ultimate goal was to unite with The Army of Ohio and reinforcements from the Army of the Potomac to form the Union force that would confront Gen. Braxton Bragg and his Confederate army. Correspondent "W," who to this day has never been identified, reported to the Chronicle: "Our Division under command of General Wood left our beautiful camp at Hillsboro (Tenn.) on Sunday, the 16th inst. It was the most convenient and by far the pleasantest camp that we had ever occupied, and we felt like bidding a dear friend good bye when the bugle sounded to 'strike tents' and we marched away."
The regiment made camp the first night near Tracy, Tenn., at the foot of a mountain, which was 1,200 feet high. "W" continued his report:
" ... the next day was occupied in climbing to the top, a distance of perhaps two miles. At places the road was so steep that the men were obliged to assist the mules in dragging up the heavily loaded wagons.
"It was severe work, and was not entirely performed until the morning of the next day. It reminded us of 'Bonaparte crossing the Alps,' though of course, we felt it was comparatively a small affair.
"We marched some thirty-five miles on the mountain before we began to descend. The roads were generally good, though many miry places were passed through only by the help of the men lifting at the wheels, or steadying the wagon to prevent it upsetting in rough stony places.
"Our Regiment passed over the last five miles in one hour. The boys will not soon forget their 'double quick' down the mountain with Col. Opdyke (Regimental Commander of the 125th) on foot and at the head leading them on."
The respite in the Sequatchee Valley was short-lived. By Sept. 1, 1863, the 125th was facing the Tennessee River, which it began crossing the following day. The entire 1st Division was across by the evening of the third. The hunt for Bragg was soon to begin with a combined Union of 60,000.
News from the 14th Ohio Battery
Following its participation in the Siege of Corinth, Miss., the 14th Ohio Battery (a.k.a. Burrows' Battery) was placed on garrison duty for essentially the next year and a half. So, unlike the ever-marching 125th OVI, the 14th lived a sedentary existence by comparison. A 14th Battery correspondent who went by the pseudonym of UNION sent a report to the Chronicle from Corinth dated Sept. 7, 1863, that started: "As you are not often troubled with letters for publication from the 14th Ohio Battery, and fearing our friends may forget that such an organization exists, a few lines may not come amiss, showing our whereabouts, etc."
His few lines grew to a great many, covering a bevy of of subjects well beyond explaining the 14th's whereabouts. I can only select one to highlight. "So far as I have seen, no one has paid to the memory of a brave man, the respect that is due to that of the lamented Lt. Homer H. Stull. It is beyond the the power of my pen to do him justice. He was a man of more than ordinary ability, of a kind, genial disposition, and was loved and esteemed by this entire command. No braver man has fallen since the breaking out of the rebellion, and none from the Battery could have been missed more than he is." "No man ever commanded the respect of his men more fully than did Lt. Stull, and bitter tears of regret were shed when his death was announced." (Stull died of sickness.)
"As a slight testimonial of their esteem for his worth, and the love they bore him, it was thought a monument to his memory would be fitting. In a few hours the sum of $500 was subscribed for the purpose, and the work is now in progress by a firm in Cleveland. It is to be erected in Farmington, where he is buried, and will probably be finished next November."
News of the 6th Ohio Volunteer Cavalry
Capt. James S. Abell of Trumbull County and commander of Company I of the 6th Ohio Volunteer Cavalry, wrote a letter to his brother William on Sept. 3. 1863, from Carter's Run, Va. The letter was published in the Western Reserve Chronicle. Abell described an ambush that historically is cited as have occurred at Barbee's Cross Roads (Virginia). Following are excerpts from that letter:
"Since I wrote you last, our regiment has met with a severe loss. Sept. 1st, about 3 o'clock P.M. Major Cryer with Lieut. Shepard (of my Co.) and forty-eight enlisted men left camp near Orleans on a patrol to Barber's cross roads, when about 6 miles from camp our men were pounced upon by a large force of rebel cavalry, mounted and dismounted, our men were taken by surprise. Major Cryer was wounded in the knee by a ball, Lieut. Shepard taken prisoner, was temporarily in command of Co. G."
Abell then proceeded to enumerate by name and company the 31 casualties suffered by the 6th OVC. As of his reporting, two had been killed, one being Sgt. Frank L. Shafer of Co. G. The other was L. J. Ford of Co. B. Of Shafer, Abell had the following to say:
"Sergeant Shafer had just returned from home, where he had been a short time. He had been wounded at Upperville, and had returned to his regiment before his wound had fully recovered, preferring the field to the hospital. He was shot while cutting his way through the rebel lines with his sabre. When asked if he had any message for his friends he said: 'Tell them I died in a a good cause."
News of the 7th OVI
The officers' staff of the 7th Ohio Volunteer Infantry sent out a proclamation from its headquarters at the time, Governor's Island, N. Y., dated Sept. 1, 1863. It was in effect a memorial to Lt. C. A. Brooks, Co. H, of Bristol who was killed when run over by a train in a non-combat assignment. Brooks had a short but remarkable career. In two years he rose through the ranks from private to lieutenant, at which promotion he was appointed adjutant of the regiment. It was resolved that the men of the 7th would "wear on their persons, arms or accouterments any appropriate badge of mourning for thirty days in consideration of their loss in the death of a brother and fellow soldier."
Compiled by members of the CW150 Committee of Warren's Sutliff Museum.