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Henry S. Chapin Correspondence - MMS 1585
Henry S. Chapin wrote the following letters to the editor of the Perrysburg Journal while serving with Company F, 144th Ohio Volunteer Infantry.
Annapolis Junction, Md.
August 2, 1864.
I yesterday had the pleasure of meeting Major Buell and Captain Black (of Company B) of the 144th O.N.G. and learned some facts concerning their absent comrades, of the regiment, which may not be uninteresting to your readers.
Both the above officers were unwell and when I met them, were on their way from Harper's Ferry to Annapolis. They hope in a few days to be again able to join their regiment.
As I have before written, the 144th Regiment, except the Companies of Captain Cook and Captain Smith- was sent to Washington about the 15th of July, and it formed part of the force which left that city-on the morning of the 17th of July, I believe- for Snicker's Gap in pursuit of the Rebel raiders. They marched to the Gap- a distance of between 50 and 60 miles, and after the pursuit was abandoned marched back to Washington; there they rested for three days, when-on Tuesday last- they started on a march for Harper's Ferry- a distance of between 70 and 80 miles, I believe-where they arrived Friday last. At this place Captain Black and Major Buell left the regiment. They report that it has since been sent on toward Pennsylvania in search of the late Rebel raiders.
In these last expeditions the command of Captain Black has been composed of parts of his own company, Company I, and a company of the regiment from Wyandot County. These companies were in the fight at Monocacy and the men of each who had returned previous to the departure of the regiment were temporarily consolidated, and placed under the command of Captain Black. Lieut. S.J. Lamb, of Bowling Green, is now in command of the above company.
Captain Black reports the Wood County boys with the regiment to be nearly all well, yet "worn out" with the hard marching they have done since first leaving Washington. They have all the time been hunting Rebels and have consequently been pushed to their utmost "marching powers." He states that the veterans of the Army of the Potomac, who were with the expedition, say they had never before done "any such" marching.
The following men, who were with Captain Black, are reported on the sick list; in hospital in Washington-W.A. Benschoter, Co.I, Gundy and J.Kelley, Co.B. At Harper's Ferry- Sergt C. Burton, Corp. S. Beverstock, and John Mathews, Company B. None of them were regarded as dangerously ill. The regiment has been in no engagement since the Battle of Monocacy.
During the late marches, quite a number of cases of sunstroke have occurred-some of them fatal-but I can learn of none among the boys from Wood County.
The following is believed to be a complete list of the prisoners taken from Captain Black's company at the Battle of Monocacy and now held by the Rebels: J.B. Phillips, E. Jones, J. Soash, and Wm. Anglebeck.
Company F still holds its position at this site, enjoys good health, and is jovial and contented as could be expected in war times..
Annapolis Junction, Md.
August 10, 1864.
Notwithstanding the fact that for nearly two weeks past-according to the papers- a large Rebel force has been daily advancing and retreating on the upper Potomac in Maryland and Pennsylvania, yet the situation of Company F remains unchanged; and aside from the usual routine of duties, nothing of importance has lately occurred here. However, it is doubtless now proper to mention the fact that an important movement by the company in force is contemplated, and it is hoped that we shall have the cooperation of the other companies of this regiment, which composed the old 64th Battalion O.N.G. Without exceeding the bounds of military propriety, I may state that their movement is nothing less than a raid on Wood County; and unless the exigencies of the service should require a delay, the aforesaid movement will probably be inaugurated about the 19th inst. How soon thereafter the invading force may be expected to appear within the limits of "Old Wood" I am not at liberty to state..
In short, the "one hundred days" of the 144th O.N.G. will expire on the 18th inst.; but whether we shall be relived from duty here before, or precisely at that time it is not now possible to state. It is probable however, in consideration of the forthcoming draft, that we shall be returned to Ohio as soon as possible after the expiration of our term of service..
I have before mentioned the fact that when this regiment left Ft. McHenry on the 18th of May last, we were compelled to part with Lieutenant Colonel Miller, who had been detailed by General Morris to act as Provost Marshal of that Post. Although Colonel Miller has made repeated efforts to be released from that service that he might rejoin his regiment, it was not until Saturday last that his request was granted and he was relieved from performing the onerous duties of Provost Marshal at the Fort. He arrived here on Sunday evening last, and left the following morning for Washington and returned her Monday evening and Tuesday morning left to rejoin the regiment-supposed to be somewhere in the vicinity of Harper's Ferry..
Some days since I was informed that a rumor had somehow reached Perrysburg to the effect that Colonel Miller had been detached from the regiment and was remaining at Fort McHenry of his own request. Such a rumor concerning any officer implies at least that he has willfully abandoned his command, and prefers to shirk rather than share whatever dangers and hardships it may encounter in the field. It is unnecessary for me to add that such an imputation concerning Colonel Miller is wholly unfounded and unjust; and if such a rumor has prevailed there, I am inclined to believe that it originated in a thoughtless remark rather than a deliberate intention to do him so great and injustice. If I am correctly informed, officers are not detailed for Provost Marshals, and for other similar service by their own request; and an officer making such a request, would-unless in special cases-be fully as likely to be placed under arrest as to receive the appointment-perhaps more so! This fact at once disposes of any rumor that Colonel Miller sought the appointment and his efforts to obtain his release from that office manifest his desire to share whatever fortunes might befall the men who left home under his command. Under the circumstances, the detention at the Fort for so long a time after the departure of his regiment can only be regarded as an acknowledgment by the commanding General that the duties of the office were faithfully and satisfactorily performed..
During the Rebel raid in July, many of secessionists in this locality plainly showed their hands- making no effort to conceal the joy they felt at the apparent success of their friends, and the prospect of Union forces being driven from this locality. As a natural consequence after the raid was over, many (if not all) members of the company felt less inclined than formerly to respect the rights of Rebels to certain eatable articles which are welcome in camp; and such being the case, sundry appropriations were made as occasion offered. Some may denounce the action of members of the company as wrong-but is it wrong for a Union soldier to take from a secessionist, articles which would be gladly given to an armed traitor, if an opportunity offered? Possibly so, but I can't see it..
A FRIEND WITH GEESE!.
On a certain night, one of the guards discovered an unknown person approaching, when the following military conversation ensued..
Guard: "Halt! Who comes there?".
Unknown: "A friend with geese!".
Guard: "Advance, and deposit geese in the cook shanty!".
The admonition of the guard was very promptly complied with and in like manner, on other occasions, friends made similar deposits of new potatoes, chickens, & c. It has since transpired that the aforesaid friends wore Federal blue and were wonderfully at home about the camp.
One afternoon three or four left the camp with their empty canteens for the ostensible purpose of hunting a spring from whence a cooling draught might be obtained. While prosecuting their search, they accidentally came across a number of cows-the sight of which seemed to banish from their minds all thoughts of springs for they immediately commenced filling their canteens with milk. At this critical moment another party of soldiers on a similar expedition come in sight, discovered the situation, and with all the skill and coolness of veterans they immediately executed a brilliant strategic movement. By roving cautiously and quickly, party number two succeeded in reaching someplace behind where party number one was operating and from this cover they shouted fiercely: "You had better let those cows alone!" The milkers were panic stricken and possibly beheld visions of the guard tent with themselves for internal ornaments; they quit their milking and went at once, and as the surest way to get away across a creek they unceremoniously skedaddled through water a couple of feet deep to the satisfaction and amusement of party number two, who at once occupied the positions thus evacuated, filled their canteens, and returned to camp just in time to witness the arrival of their moist but outgeneraled companions.
On Monday evening last Lieut. Bacon of Capt. Hathaway's company passed here en route for hospital I Annapolis. He was not seriously ill but hard service and indisposition had rendered him unfit for duty.
A serious collision occurred about a fourth of a mile south of this place, on Monday last, between two passenger trains from Baltimore and Washington. A baggage master on the road and Michael Sullivan of the 8th Indiana Regt. were killed; two locomotives and two baggage cars were demolished and six or eight other cars were considerably injured. But few persons were wounded-none seriously. Lieut. Col. Miller and Sergeant J.H. Kuder were on the train from Washington but escaped injury. This makes the third collision which has occurred on the Baltimore and Washington road near this place since we have been stationed here. The second occurred on Saturday morning last, but resulted in no personal injury.
Members of the company are, as a general thing, enjoying good health; likewise an abundance of apples, pears, melons, peaches, and green corn..
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