Artillery Units: 11th Ohio Battery, Independent Light Artillery

The biographical sketches here show only those members of the unit who wrote letters to their local newspapers. Information may be drawn from the unit roster, newspaper obituaries, or other biographical sources.

Captain Cyrus A. Sears

Col. Cyrus Sears Cyrus A. Sears was born March 10, 1832 in Delaware Co., New York and came with his father's family, in January, 1836, to Crawford County, where he remained on a farm until of age. He graduated at the Cincinnati Law School April, 14, 1856, and, in June of the same year, was admitted to the bar at Upper Sandusky. He commenced practice at Bucyrus, April 1, 1857, and continued until June 15, 1859, when he removed to Upper Sandusky and continual practice. October 12, 1861, he was enrolled a private, at Cincinnati, in the 11th Ohio Independent Battery of Light Artillery, and was promoted to First Lieutenant to date October 27, 1861. He participated in the siege of New Madrid and Island No. 10, and commanded the battery during the siege of Corinth, and also at the battle of Iuka, where his battery lost fifty-six men and he was severely wounded. For his actions, he was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.

In his official order on this battle, Gen. Rosecrans states that "The 11th Ohio Battery, under Lieutenant Sears, was served with unequaled bravery, under circumstances of danger and exposure, such as rarely, perhaps never, have fallen to the lot of a single battery during the war."

Sears' account of his experience at Iuka is quoted here from Deeds of Valor:

"At Iuka, the 11th Ohio Battery under my command made a most desperate fight, which was not only returned full measure, pressed down and overflowing, but in which it lost, in killed and wounded, over 52 percent of its entire force and over 88 percent of its combatants or cannoneers-or 48 out of 54 men.

The part taken by this battery in the field was in violation of orders. When we reached a point just south of its battle ground-which was done under pretty heavy fire from the enemy's artillery and infantry-I was ordered to 'form in battery' at a point designated, and 'await further orders.' These orders never came, but the enemy did, in force, sneaking up with their pieces at 'charge bayonets,' in plain view and at easy canister range. Though just then there was a comparative lull in the enemy's firing, their bullets were s-s-z-z-zipping among the battery with very uncomfortable frequency, and occasionally winging a two or four-footed victim. On the charging masses came, 150 or 200 yards. Still the battery was waiting 'further orders,' every man at his post, toeing the mark, with everything 'ready' under fire.

Of course, this wait was not actually long, though it seemed longer than the whole fight. Naturally, the boys grew uneasy, and chafed from seeing such splendid chances for the most beautiful pot-shot going to waste, and gave expression to views on the conduct of the war accordingly.

For example, one sergeant said: 'By God, I guess we're going to let them gobble the whole damned shooting match before we strike a lick, if we don't mind and quickly too.'

A corporal replied: 'I guess we are obeying orders.' 'Damn the orders! To wait for orders in a time like this!' the sergeant retorted.

This dialogue struck a responsive chord in my mind, and was, perhaps, the last straw that moved me to take a chance and shoulder the responsibility. I gave the order: 'With canister, load, aim low, and give them hell as fast as you can!' And so the fight was on.

Before the end it became evident that the position of the guns of this battery had become so much the bone of contention in that fight, that everything else, both flags, the Union and the Confederacy, and even the 'damned rigger' were forgotten in that all-absorbing, handspike and ramrod, rough-and-tumble, devil-take-the-hindmost fight for those six guns.

I was wounded, and after the battle was ordered home to Ohio for repairs."

Following several months of recuperation in Ohio, Sears was discharged from the 11th Ohio Battery to dated May 25, 1863 and was commissioned Lieutenant Colonel of the 11th Louisiana Infantry, African Descent on May 26, 1863 and commanded the regiment with great credit at the battle of Millken's Bend on June 7, 1863. In a letter to his superior officer, dated March 25, 1866, Col. Vail E. Young, commanding the post of Vicksburg, says: "Lieut. Col. Sears was specially mentioned in official reports of the battle of Iuka, and recommended for promotion for gallant conduct, by Gens. Hamilton, Rosecrans and Grant. He was also conspicuously gallant at the battle of Milliken's Bend, Sears served with this regiment throughout the remainder of the war until he was mustered out on March 22, 1866. He returned home to Wyandot County and within a few years owned a half interest in the Stevenson Machine Works which he sold in 1872. He was a member of the Oak Hill Cemetery Association and later worked as the postmaster of Pitt Twp. He started another mercantile business in Fowler, Ohio that grew into the Harpster, Sears, and McCampbell firm; he also served on the Fowler Board of Education. Cyrus Sears died November 30, 1909 and is buried at Oak Hill cemetery in Upper Sandusky, Wyandot Co., Ohio.

Articles:

Wyandot Democratic Union- February 25, 1864 pg. 1

Letters: Wyandot Pioneer

October 4, 1861 pg. 2
November 15, 1861 pg. 2
November 22, 1861 pg. 2
December 13, 1861 pg. 2
March 28, 1862 pg. 2
May 2, 1862 pg. 2
May 30, 1862 pg. 2
June 20, 1862 pg. 2 (2 letters)
October 3, 1862 pg. 3
June 12, 1863 pg. 2

Corporal Henry C. Worley

Henry C. Worley enlisted as a 26 year old Private on September 17, 1861 and was mustered into service October 27, 1861 at St. Louis, Missouri. He was promoted to Corporal in 1862 and was badly wounded September 19, 1862 at the Battle of Iuka, Mississippi. He was discharged for this wound August 12, 1863.

Letters:

[No title]. Wyandot Pioneer- January 24, 1862 pg. 2, February 6, 1863 pg. 3
"Battery." Letter: Wyandot Pioneer- April 10, 1863 pg. 3
"Battery Boys." Letter: Wyandot Pioneer- February 7, 1862 pg. 2
"J.L.B." Letter: Wyandot Pioneer- January 3, 1862 pg. 2

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