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John Vanetton Patterson Papers/Paul Tremewan Collection - MS 1190

Introduction | Biographical Sketch | Scope and Content | Series Description | Inventory


The John Venetton Patterson Papers consist of a series of Civil War era letters written by John V. Patterson while serving in the 21st Ohio Volunteer Infantry during the Civil War. The collection spans the period of his service from 1861 to 1865. These letters have been enhanced with research done by the donor, Paul Tremewan, which forms the remainder of the collection.

The collection was first donated to the Center for Archival Collections by Paul Tremewan of Murphy, NC on Feb, 5, 2009, with the research files later donated in August 2013 from Mr. Tremewan through the cooperation of Barry McGhan. No restrictions exist on the use of this collection. Duplication is permitted for the purposes of preservation and research. The collection was processed and register prepared by Marilyn Levinson, Curator of Manuscripts in 2013.

 Biographical Sketch

John Vanetton Patterson served as a Lieutenant during the Civil War with Co.K and Co.C of the 21st Ohio Volunteer Infantry Regiment. Born around 1835 in Milton Township, Mahoning County, Ohio, to Hugh and Ann Vanetton Patterson, John moved to Webster Township, Wood County, Ohio around 1858 where he bought land and married Victoria Celeste Thompson on July 8, 1858. In 1860 he went into partnership with Ira Banks, opening a general store in Pemberville, Ohio. With the start of the Civil War in 1861 Patterson responded to a recruiting appeal from Silas S. Canfield, who was a neighbor of Patterson’s in-laws in Scotch Ridge.

Mustering in on September 19, 1861 as a 2nd Lieutenant with Co.K of the 21st Ohio Volunteer Infantry, he was promoted to 1st Lieutenant of Co.C on Dec. 20, 1862. He was captured on September 20, 1863 at the Battle of Chickamauga and was prisoner of war at Libby Prison and other locations until he escaped in November 1864. He was mustered out April 5, 1865 from Goldsboro, NC.

After the death of his wife Victoria, probably sometime shortly after the war, he moved to Chillicothe, Missouri where he worked as a stock raiser and livery. He is listed in the 1880 census living in Chillicothe with his two daughters Celia and Florence (in 1870 the two girls were living in Milton, Mahoning County, Ohio with his parents). He remarried in Chillicothe on July 23, 1885 to Adaline McHolland. He was killed in an incident with a runaway horse on Sept.1, 1889.

Paul Tremewan was born in Flint, Michigan on September 9, 1941 and lived in Flint and the Flint area until he retired in 1996. He then moved, first to Florida, and later to North Carolina. He now lives back in Michigan. He attended Flint schools, graduating from Central High School in 1959. He then attended Flint Junior College and the Flint University of Michigan, graduating in 1963 with a BA in education. He became a social studies teacher at Whittier Jr. High (his own junior high) in the Flint District that same year. He obtained a Master’s degree in education from Eastern Michigan University in 1976 and became a staff specialist in reading for the Flint Schools that same year, a position he held until 1994 when he returned to teaching, again at Whittier. His interest in history led him to purchase the John Patterson Letters from his sister-in-law in the mid-1980s, after she discovered them in the window seat of a Flint house where she lived.  Those letters set him on a course of study and research into the Civil War and Patterson’s life – including Civil War re-enacting – that led to the publication of his book about John Patterson and the 21st Ohio “As Near Hell As I Ever Expect to be …”  published by Xlibris Corporation in 2011.

 Scope and Content

The collection of letters written by Lieut. John V. Patterson consists of forty-two original letters from J. V. Patterson to his wife Victoria, unless otherwise indicated. The letters span the period of his service with Co.K and Co.C of the 21st Ohio Volunteer Infantry between 1861 and early 1865 and include both active duty letters and some written while he was a prisoner of the Confederates. Letters listed in italics are the prison letters. Transcripts of the letters are accessible in the copy of “As near Hell as I ever expect to be”, which Paul Tremewan compiled, annotated, and edited.   

The letters contain a wealth of information on the 21st Ohio Volunteer Infantry and its men, with frequent references to men in Company K and C. There are also oblique references to information that Victoria wrote to him about the children, his family, and local events. As a representation of events and activities on both the home-front and in the field the letters are a resource for the big picture of the war and also the personal aspects.  

The letters are greatly enhanced by the research files compiled by Paul Tremewan. The files consist of copies of a variety of background sources related to the individuals who served in Co.K and Co.C of the 21st Ohio Volunteer Infantry. Some of the data may include the soldiers’ service and burial records; pension, veterans, and survivors records; census records [mostly from U.S. Census]; genealogical records; and Paul Tremewan’s handwritten data collection forms. The various files are arranged in separate groups, alphabetically by the individuals in Co.K and Co.C, other files on individuals mentioned in the correspondence, and two pension files for Sidney Patterson (J.V. Patterson’s brother) and Aaron Thompson (J.V. Patterson’s father-in-law), both of whom served in Company K as privates under John V. Patterson’s command.

Included with the collection is an early draft of “As near Hell as I ever expect to be”, the later published version, and a copy of the 1893 regimental history of the 21st Ohio Volunteer Infantry written by Silas. S. Canfield.

 Series Description


Arranged chronologically.
A series of letters to his wife Victoria from Patterson while he served with the 21st Regiment, Ohio Volunteer Infantry, Company K and C, during the Civil War. Also includes some related documents and a carte-de-visite image.


Arranged alphabetically
Personal information from a variety of sources, including roster information, census, genealogical sources, and internet sites of those men enlisted at the same time as Lt. John V. Patterson in Co.K.

Arranged alphabetically
Personal information from a variety of sources, including roster information, census, genealogical sources, and internet sites of the men who were members of Company C at the time Lt. John V. Patterson was transferred to Company C in January, 1863. Not all members of the company are represented.

Arranged alphabetically
Personal information from a variety of sources, on individuals mentioned in the correspondence, also the U.S. 1890 Veterans Census for Wood County, Ohio townships.

Arranged alphabetically
Pension files for Sidney Patterson (J.V. Patterson’s brother) and Aaron Thompson (J.V. Patterson’s father-in-law).

Various lists and research notes compiled by Tremewan on members of Co.K, 21st O.V.I., including rosters, lists of members who weren’t in the original group, and information on soldiers who were married.

Various lists and research notes compiled by Tremewan on members of Co.C, 21st O.V.I., including rosters, lists of members who weren’t in the original group, and information on soldiers who were married. Some of the information repeats from the various sources.


Early draft copy of Paul G. Tremewan’s book on Patterson and the 21st O.V.I.   which transcribed and annotated Patterson letters from 1861 through 1865 as the primary source.


Final printed version of book on John Patterson by Paul Tremewan, as published by Xlibris Corporation

Printed copy of regimental history by Captain S. S. Canfield.


Box 1 - John V. Patterson Letters

Folder 1 - 1861

  1. 11/07/1861: As near Hell as I ever expect to be
  2. 12/12/1861: Elizabethtown, Kentucky
  3. 12/21/1861: Bacon Creek, Kentucky

Folder 2 - 1862

  1. 02/02/1862: Camp Jefferson, Kentucky  (From S. S. Canfield and S. R. Patterson to J. V. Patterson)
  2. 03/02/1862: Camp Jefferson, Kentucky
  3. 03/14/1862: Camp Andrew Jackson, Near Nashville, Tennessee
  4. 03/19/1862: Nashville, Tennessee
  5. 05/05/1862: Huntsville, Alabama
  6. 05/16/1862: Headquarters 21st O.V.  Near Huntsville,  Alabama
  7. 05/25/1862: Huntsville, Alabama
  8. 06/01/1862: Near Decatur, Alabama
  9. 06/17/1862: Fort Canfield, Opposite Decatur
  10. 06/28/1862: Fort Canfield, Alabama
  11. 07/05/1862: Fort Canfield, Alabama
  12. 10/6 & 14/1862: Nashville, Tennessee (dated separately but sent together)
  13. 11/08/1862: Saturday Morning (Nashville, Tennessee)

Folder 3 - 1863 (letters with italics written while a prisoner)

  1. 01/04/1863: Battlefield (Stones River)
  2. 01/24/1863: Murfreesboro, Tennessee
  3. 02/28/1863: Murfreesboro, Tennessee
  4. 03/07/1863: Murfreesboro, Tennessee
  5. 03/26/1863: Murfreesboro, Tennessee
  6. 04/19/1863: Murfreesboro, Tennessee (fragment)
  7. 04/25/1863: Murfreesboro, Tennessee
  8. 05/02/1863: Murfreesboro, Tennessee
  9. 07/08/1863: Camp Bennett, 20 miles North of Stephenson, Tennessee
  10. 08/27/1863: Camp Stephenson, Alabama
  11. 09/16/1863: Some place in Georgia on East side of Lookout Mountain, 20 miles South of Chattanooga
  12. 10/03/1863: Libby Prison, Richmond, Virginia
  13. 11/01/1863: Sunday, Libby Prison, Richmond, Virginia
  14. 11/13/1863: Libby Prison, Richmond, Virginia
  15. 11/18/1863: Libby Prison, Richmond, Virginia
  16. 12/06/1863: Libby Prison, Richmond, Virginia
  17. 12/16/1863: Libby Prison, Richmond, Virginia
  18. 12/22/1863: Libby Prison, Richmond, Virginia

Folder 4 - 1864-1865

  1. 02/22/1864: Libby Prison, Richmond, Virginia
  2. 02/29/1864: Libby Prison, Richmond, Virginia
  3. 03/20/1864: Sunday, Libby Prison, Richmond, Virginia
  4. 04/10/1864: Sunday, Libby Prison, Richmond, Virginia
  5. 08/27/1864: Savannah Military Prison
  6. 09/14/1864: Charleston, South Carolina
  7. 12/16/1864: Camp 21st Ohio Infantry Volunteers, Near Savannah,  Georgia  (J.V. Patterson  to  Lt. Col. A.C. McCleary – from National Archives, Military History, John V.  Patterson)
  8. 01/16/1865: Camp 21st O.V.I. Near Savannah, Georgia (John V. Pember to J.V. Patterson)

Folder 5 

  1. Unmatched covers, [1861-1865]

Folder 6

  1. Scanned copy of appointment [1861] and Oath of Allegiance [1863]

Folder 7

  1. Scanned copy of military service records, 1861-1865

Folder 8

  1. Reunion invitation for 21st OVI, 1881

Folder 9

  1. Carte-de-visite of John V. Patterson, [188-?]

Box 2 - Tremewan Subject files - Individual Soldiers – Co.K


  1. Altman, Samuel
  2. Anderson, Joseph
  3. Augustine, George
  4. Augustine, Hiram
  5. Banks, James
  6. Burk, Samuel
  7. Byall, John D.
  8. Canfield, George
  9. Canfield, Silas Sprague
  10. Carey, Lucius
  11. Caryl, Willard
  12. Case, Thorn
  13. Clements, Henry
  14. Davidson, Thomas S.
  15. Elder, Joseph
  16. Fair, Elisha
  17. Fair, Leonard
  18. Finlay, Thomas
  19. Fish, William
  20. Fisher, Peter

Box 3 - Tremewan Subject files - Individual Soldiers – Co.K


  1. Flowers, Charles
  2. Forrest, Alexander
  3. Forrest, James
  4. Forrest, James A.
  5. Forrest, John S.
  6. Forrest, Robert A.
  7. Forrest, William
  8. Forrest, William R.
  9. Forrest Family
  10. Fox, Henry A.
  11. Gano, Charles M.
  12. Harns, Phillip
  13. Harris, Elisha
  14. Harris, Ransom
  15. Hastings, Waite
  16. Hathaway, George W.
  17. Hathaway, Isaac

Box 4 - Tremewan Subject files - Individual Soldiers – Co.K


  1. Heckman, Henry
  2. Hinds, Adam
  3. Hornbeck, Joseph H.
  4. Inman, James T.
  5. Jolley, George W.
  6. Keller, George
  7. Kelly, John D.
  8. Lewis, Roya
  9. Listen, Daniel
  10. Loomis, David N.
  11. Mahoney, John S.
  12. Mason, Elihu (Elisha)
  13. McFall, George
  14. McFerrin, John
  15. McIntyre, Alpheus
  16. Morgan, Guy
  17. Mosley, Thomas
  18. Muir, James
  19. Muir, John
  20. Myers, Charles
  21. Myers, George
  22. Myers, John
  23. Ordway, Andrew

Box 5 - Tremewan Subject files - Individual Soldiers – Co.K


  1. Patterson, Hugh (John Patterson’s father’s family)
  2. Patterson, John V. (and related i.e. wife & daughter)
  3. Patterson, Sidney Russell
  4. Pember, Henry
  5. Pember, John W.
  6. Powers, Hiram H.
  7. Powers, James
  8. Ransford, Charles
  9. Rockwood, Byron
  10. Russell, John
  11. Russell, Joseph
  12. Sanders, Oliver
  13. Sawyer, Thomas
  14. Scott, Darius
  15. Shanks, George
  16. Shanks, William
  17. Smith, Justin E.
  18. Stewart, James
  19. Stocking, Julius

Box 6 - Tremewan Subject files - Individual Soldiers – Co.K


  1. Thompson, Aaron
  2. Vancise, Jesse Russell
  3. Vanetton, Cyrus
  4. Vanetton Family (John Patterson’s mother’s family)
  5. Walker, Jesse
  6. Weddell, William
  7. Wetmore, David N.
  8. Wetmore, Ebenezer
  9. Wetmore, Elbridge
  10. Wetmore, Martin P
  11. Wicker, William B.
  12. Wright, George
  13. Zimmerman, Daniel
  14. Zimmerman, George

Box 7 - Tremewan Subject files - Individual Soldiers – Co.C


  1. Abbott, Manning M.
  2. Avery, Thomas Jefferson
  3. Barkhammer, Newton (Barkhimer)
  4. Bates, Reason
  5. Bentley, Dennis
  6. Besanson, Augustus L.
  7. Besanson, Charles
  8. Besanson, James N.
  9. Bordner, Jeremiah
  10. Borsdorf, Henry (Bostdorf)
  11. Brewster, Sidney (Breuster)
  12. Caswell, George F.
  13. Chapman, William
  14. Clough, Edgar Price
  15. Clutter, George  Washington
  16. Coen, Aaron H. (Coan)
  17. Collins, William
  18. Comstock, Abel
  19. Cooley, Samuel G.
  20. Creps, Charles Frederick
  21. Crook, Thomas
  22. Denton, Thomas
  23. Dienst, Andrew
  24. Dienst, Nicholas
  25. Eberly, Benjamin C.
  26. Eddelman, George M. (Edelman)
  27. Elder, Joseph
  28. Franks, William
  29. French, Riley
  30. Hixon, Henry
  31. Hockenberger, William D.
  32. Hopper, Benjamin Franklin
  33. Hopper, James J.
  34. Ireland, Robert
  35. Jones, Horace
  36. Leaf, James
  37. Limbrick, Henry (Limbrich)
  38. McMahan, Arnold
  39. Morehead, John
  40. Pinert, Frantz (Peinert)
  41. Pinert, Frederick (Peinert)
  42. Plemon, David
  43. Rhodes, Benjamin
  44. Richardson, George S.
  45. Robison, Henry (Robinson)
  46. Scheets, George (Sheets)
  47. Smith, Abraham V.
  48. Spafford, Asa (Ara)
  49. Spencer, Harvey
  50. Vancamp, B.F.
  51. Vancamp, Henry Harrison
  52. Wood, Mark

Box 8 - Tremewan Subject files - Individuals Mentioned in Correspondence


  1. Baird, Edward
  2. Banks, Ira
  3. Bramer, Daniel
  4. Brewster, Norman
  5. Don Carlos Buell
  6. Bumpus, James
  7. Bushnell, Sherman
  8. Carman, Dr. T. S.
  9. Caton, Milo
  10. Croninger, Henry
  11. Devereaux, Ralph
  12. William Flanagan
  13. Freeman, John
  14. Froney, Albert
  15. Gibbs, David
  16. Robert Householder
  17. Luckey, James
  18. Mayberry, James H.
  19. McClellan, George B.
  20. McMean, John
  21. Morgan, John H.
  22. Moore, Johnson
  23. Myers, John
  24. Neibling, James
  25. Negley, James
  26. Norton, Jesse S.
  27. Patton, Mary
  28. Platt, Horace
  29. Schroeder, William
  30. Scott, George
  31. Sears, Cyrus
  32. Smith, William S.
  33. Strong, Samuel
  34. Tucker, William E.
  35. Vantine, Charles
  36. Wood, Amos
  37. 21st OVI Other company members (John Scott, James E. Scott, Bennet Thompson, Wilson J. Vance, James K. Thompson, Aaron Alton)
  38. 1890 Census of Veterans  “Surviving Soldiers, Sailors, and Marines, and Widows, etc.” - Wood County, Ohio by Township

Box 9 - Tremewan Subject files - Family Member files


  1. Pension file for Sidney Patterson (J.V. Patterson's brother)
  2. Pension file for Aaron Thompson (J.V. Patterson's father-in-law)

Box 10 - Tremewan Subject files - Topical Company files


  1. Co.K later enlistees (post 1861)
  2. Co.K miscellaneous research list
  3. Co.K married men
  4. Co.K roster from Ancestry
  5. Co.K men from 1860 Census listings
  6. 21st O.V.I. - Official Roster of the Soldiers of the State of Ohio in the War of the Rebellion
  7. Co.C biographical information from Dan Masters old AOL website
  8. Co.C. compiled notes on soldiers and their families
  9. Co.C letters from online sources
  10. Co.C roster and information from S.S. Canfield book
  11. Co.C casualty lists
  12. Co.C - Andersonville
  13. Co.C - Chickamauga
  14. Co.C - Stones River
  15. Co.C roster -
  16. Co.C roster - Ohio Genealogical Society
  17. Co.C biographies

Box 11 - Literary Productions/Printed Material


  1. Draft - Tremewan, Paul G. “As Near Hell As I Ever Expect To Be”, 2011
  2. Canfield, Silas S., History of Twenty-First Ohio Volunteer Infantry, Toledo, Ohio: Vrooman, Anderson and Bateman, Printers. 1893. Book signed by author, Silas S. Canfield.
  3. Tremewan, Paul G. “As Near Hell As I Ever Expect To Be”, Xlibris Corporation, 1911.

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