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John J. Evers Papers - MMS 1715

John J. Evers enlisted in the 13th Ohio Volunteer Infantry (3 months' service) in 1861. That unit mustered out in August. Evers then joined the 7th Ohio Volunteer Infantry (3 years' service). He was appointed corporal on November 20, 1861. Evers was killed in the Battle of Cedar Mountain, Virginia on August 9, 1862.

With Company C, 13th Ohio Volunteer Infantry

May 17, 1861

Letter from Private John J. Evers, Company C, 13th Ohio Volunteer Infantry (3-months)
Camp Dennison, Cincinnati, Ohio, May 17, 1861

Subject: Camp Dennison activities
Originally published in the Perrysburg Journal May 23, 1861, p.3

Finding soldiery in the midst of safety as far as the enemy is concerned to be a rather dull business I concluded to let you hear what it really is. We arrived here on the 8th in a drenching rain and marched about half a mile through mud and water over shoe top. Part of our regiment came down the day before and had quite comfortable quarters for us when we arrived. Our allowance that day was hard bread and fat side pork. Being on the sick list, I repaired to the hospital, which is a large one story building in the shape of an S. It is very deficient in ventilation and more so in light, as the windows, being of boards, can only be opened when the weather is pleasant. It is well supplied with able physicians, but they have not the amount or the kind of medicine that is needed. It is constantly crowded with sick solders, all of whom dread going there for the reason that they are low and require good nursing, which they do not get by any means. There is but one lady nurse in the service, and she is a true patriot. The wife of Dr. McMeons of Sandusky City, the surgeon of the 3rd Regiment. She brought a large quantity of bread and butter which she contributes gratuitously, including her own labor in preparing it, to the sick. The proper authorities are certainly censurable for apparently this intentional neglect. There are now about 10,000 troops here and the "Guthrie Grays" and "Montgomery Guards," two regiments from Cincinnati are expected here today. We drill about five hours every day. Officers are nearly all inexperienced. One of Gen. Scott's staff, Gen. Smith, has been here several days instructing them. We have good fare, consisting of beef, pork, beans, bread, and coffee without milk to color it our sugar to sweeten it. We take turns cooking. Col. Anderson passed here at 3:20 p.m. All the regiments were marched up to the railroad track double file where the train passed very slowly. The Col. Stood on the platform of the hind car with uncovered head, occasionally bowing until he reached the center of the line and was immediately surrounded by the officers. Seeing there was a disposition on their part to convey him along the lines, he returned and the train left for Cincinnati, impressed with the idea I suppose that our men were green. Our company, the "Mac-a-checks," have been accepted as cavalry for three years under Carl Schurz-soon to march to Washington. Don Piatt is our Captain. Our company is C, our regiment is the 13th.

We have quite warm days here but cold nights and it is cool sleeping with but one blanket. But one company in camp is uniformed besides ours. 2 p.m. 1,000 Grays just came in-great cheering. They are fine looking fellows.

Yours in haste,
J.J. Evers
There are now 16,000 troops at Camp Dennison.

July 4, 1861

Corporal John J. Evers, Company C, 7th Ohio Volunteer Infantry
Weston, Lewis Co., Virginia July 4, 1861

Subject: Movement to and operations in western Virginia
Originally published in the Perrysburg Journal July 18, 1861

I know of no other way to give vent to the patriotic feelings which inspire the heart of every true American citizen on the glorious fourth even though he be on secession soil; so I write to the ever remembered Journal. I left the almost unbroken plain of northwest Ohio on the 24th of June and rejoined the 7th at camp from which place we made our exit Wednesday the 26th at 6 p.m. Went by way of Xenia, Columbus, Newark and Zanesville to Bellair. Crossed the river at Benwood, Virginia and all enjoyed sweet sleep with knapsacks for pillows and mother dust for beds. Although it was night, the passage from camp to Newark was one of continual cheering and "Give 'em fits" from the crowds at the different stations. The train consisted of 56 cars heavily loaded and drawn by 4 heavy engines from Columbus through. Men, horses, and baggage wagons were all aboard. We are fully uniformed and equipped with one exception, and that is we have no canteens but many would rather go without than use the India rubber things which others have.

At Benwood, the ammunition was distributed. From this place to Grafton, 103 miles are the most wild, romantic, rugged, and in many instances beautiful hills I have ever seen anywhere. A great many of them are coal hills but have been used but little on account of the country being so thinly populated. This tract of country seems to have been designed for an Indian war ground or some other worthless thing because it is so rocky and barren that man could never sustain life here, except by "fighting seceshers" (as they call them) and clothed and fed by the United States. Grafton is Gen. McClellan's headquarters in western Virginia. The 9 regiments now in Lewis, Harrison, and Barbour counties get their provisions from Clarksburg, it being the nearest railroad station. In order to make the transportation of troops safe, there have been guards placed on every bridge of the Ohio Central R.R. and whole companies of the 16th and 20th regiments guard bridges on the Baltimore and Ohio, so that all is secure.

The 7th is from the dreaded Western Reserve, consequently it will be fight or die for it. E.B. Tyler of Ravenna is Colonel. He has been doing business in Virginia for the last 20 years and is well acquainted with every winding stream, hill, and vale as any man in the Union. From Grafton, we took the railroad towards Parkersburg, 22 miles from Clarksburg. Pitched tents Friday night and remained until Saturday, 3 p.m. At this hour, we were called out and ordered to be ready in one hour to march.

The hour passed and we started out on what proved to be one of the most fatiguing marches I ever experienced. It was up and down hill all the way from camp to Weston, 24 miles and all afoot with not less than 40 to 60 pounds to the man. This was the case when we started, but many dispensed with their burdens entirely before we got through by casting them to the winds. We hadn't a mouthful of provisions with us. The road was macadamized all the way and we were not allowed to break ranks. Many had thin soled shoes and boots on, which caused them to tread lightly over the stones for the last 10 miles. They say this was a forced march. I am sure the last three miles were with me at least. No one save the staff knew our destination. We started with 1040 men and got through with 850, the rest being left by the roadside. The Colonel expected to find a force of 1300 in this place as it was strongly secession, but they heard of our approach and left. The Colonel, however, gave us a little advice as we were entering the town, using the only oath I ever heard him use-"Now boys, by damn do your duty." We did. Of the prisoners taken, there were 5 who said they wouldn't take the oath of allegiance and were sent to McClellan. $27,000 in gold and silver was taken and I had the honor of guarding it from here to the railroad. It was to have been sent to Richmond at 10 o'clock Sunday and we got it at 6 in the morning.

S. Allen Day unfurled the flag given by the ladies of Bowling Green over the secession printing office by order of Col. Tyler. There are six Wood County boys in the 7th. It seems impossible to bring the enemy to an engagement as they retreat as fast as the Union troops advance. They are armed with shot guns and rifles which they possessed long before this. They make some good shots on our pickets though. The people of this place came out on Sabbath morn to get a glimpse of the approaching soldiers in an attire which indicates truce, it being too early to find them moving. They soon became Union people, and set the best tables for us which we made a famous charge on. General good health prevails. Crops do not look as good as in Ohio. Cattle raising is the main dependence of the people. As one of them men was being examined as to his loyalty, a big man of color walked lazily up and said, "Well massa, I guess you're in for it."

He was surely.

J.J. Evers

July 18, 1861

Glennville, Gilmer Co., Virginia July 18, 1861
Subject: Operations in western Virginia, Glennville
Originally published in the Perrysburg Journal July 25, 1861

Doubtless correspondence with some one of a regiment formed nearer home would be more interesting, but as we are all engaged in the same common cause the whereabouts of all our Buckeye boys are anxiously sought for. The 7th Regiment, after reconnoitering the country pretty thoroughly from 15 to 35 miles around Weston, which is now its headquarters, was ordered to go to the aid of 400 of the Ohio 17th who were surrounded at Glennville by O.J. Wise with 1500 Rebels. We arrived at this place Sunday the 7th after a march of 28 miles. Wise had made many war-like demonstrations on the hills around the 17th but did not make an attack on account of the disagreement of commanders. Their position could not be approached without a circuitous march and coming up at the same time, scale a hill in front. Col. Wise then retired after sending a shower of bullets into town towards the Great Kanawha. They left Monday morning and Col. Tyler arrived in the evening.

For miles around here, terror, dread and desolation rule the day. All business and industry have ceased. Secessionists first alarmed the Union men, who scattered through the North and then the rebels expected in return for their conduct to be butchered like brutes, hence they fled in dismay to Dixie or some other good place to live and die. Never was I more surprised than on coming to this Garden of Eden and finding ignorance and indolence such general rulers, instead of intelligence and industry. Schools are very poorly supported in times of peace but are now entirely suspended. They have taken nothing but secession journals and but few of them. This is not true of all, because there are some honest men who have been deluded. They take the oath of allegiance and prove faithful as long as they are within gunshot reach. The soldiers are becoming discouraged at this course and they intend to make sure work of it in future scouts. Of the 53 houses in this place, 49 are tenantless. It is the county seat and a strong military point. The school house is now a store house for our provisions, the court house is used to confine prisoners and unruly soldiers; the Methodist church (there are two others) is used as a guard house. Necessity forced me to make a practical demonstration of pulpit desecration by prostrating myself on it with the church bible for my pillow last night. Our probable destination is on the Big Kanawha.

Letters directed to Company C, 7th O.V., Weston, Lewis Co., Virginia will reach us.

Yours in haste,
J.J. Evers

MMS 1715 - John J. Evers Papers Guide
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