Book: Hundred Day Wonders At Fort Delaware

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Hundred Day Wonders At Fort Delaware

The Story of the
157th Ohio Volunteer Infantry
in the
Civil War

Richard H. Cole, Jr.


Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Background.....................1

Chapter 2: Organization.....................4

Chapter 3: First Assignment.....................10

Chapter 4: To Fort Delaware.....................18

Chapter 5: Monotony.....................24

Chapter 6: First Charleston Voyage.....................31

Chapter 7: A Shooting Incident.....................34

Chapter 8: Continuing Monotony.....................50

Chapter 9: Second Charleston Voyage.....................55

Chapter 10: Mustering Out and After.....................70

Chapter 11: Commentary.....................79

Appendix A: Chronology.....................83

Appendix B: Losses.....................84

Appendix C: First Reunion.....................85


Authors Preface

This work is the culmination of more than twenty years of research, study, writing and re-writing.  As one of my direct Civil War ancestors, Elijah Lowery, served in the 157th Ohio, I have always maintained an avid interest in this rather obscure, short-lived military unit.

All the facts presented herein are supported by the documentation contained in the sources listed in the bibliography.  In a few cases, judgment was required to resolve conflicting accounts.  Some opinions are offered, especially in the ‘Commentary’ chapter.  These are based on years of reading hundreds of first-hand prisoner-of-war accounts from both the North and South sides.

Quotations have been left in their original format as found, with no spelling or grammatical corrections being made.

I have attempted to rely more heavily on first-hand information – primary sources – than memoirs and recollections written well after the event, as these can be heavily skewed by the lapse of time and memory, by reading of other works, and by changing personal agendas.

I am responsible for errors and misinterpretations contained in this work.

Richard H. Cole, Jr.
Muncie, Indiana

Chapter 1

Background: 100-Day Wonders

In the spring of 1864, the war between the United States and the Confederate States was entering its fourth year.  The outcome was very much in question, but Union forces appeared to be gaining the upper hand, having won major battles the year before at places like Gettysburg and Vicksburg.

Northern military strategists decided that it was once again time to mount a major summer offensive against the city of Richmond, Virginia.  In their opinion, the Confederacy was on the verge of collapse.  Capturing the Southern capital would be the knockout blow.

But there was another motivating factor behind their decision.  Most of the Union army regiments had been formed in the summer of 1861.  The men had enlisted for the standard three-year term of service.  While many had believed the war would have been over long before their time was up, that deadline was now fast approaching with the end nowhere in sight.

Entire regiments could disappear, as not all the men would re-enlist.  Many men had tired of army life and were ready to return home.  Those who did re-enlist would often receive a furlough as an incentive to do so.  This would take them away from the battlefield for several months at a critical juncture in the war.  The Northern army was due to receive a major loss to its fighting capability.

The Northern leaders decided to mount a major assault and get the war ended before the enlistments expired.  However, previous attempts to capture Richmond had shown that massive superiority was vital to even have a chance at success.  The city was well defended.  To take it, the North needed to throw every available man into the effort.

It was impractical for the Union army to try to build up its manpower level with new recruits.  Even if enough men could be dredged up by offering enlistment bonuses or by drafting, it would take months to train them properly.  And, the pool of good soldier material had already been depleted.  What was left consisted of old men, young kids, and a hoard of bounty jumpers who would enlist for the bonus and desert at the first chance.

However, there was one potential source of additional manpower. Many troops were performing vital but non-combat tasks behind the front lines, guarding prison camps, protecting cities, bridges and rail lines, and manning defense garrisons.  These men were already in the military, and were combat trained.  Some had even seen battle before.  The big problem: who would replace these men if they were sent to the front lines?

The Union strategists came up with a solution - mobilize state Militia and National Guard units to take their places.  These part-time soldiers were not sufficiently trained to be sent directly into battle.  But, being already formed into organizations, they could replace men at camps, forts and prisons in a timely manner.  Their rudimentary skills would allow them to perform these limited duties, thus freeing the trained soldiers for the upcoming offensive.

So it came about that, on April 21, 1864, the Governors of the states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa and Wisconsin met in Washington and jointly offered to the federal government the use of their Militia and National Guard troops, totaling 85,000 men.  President Lincoln quickly accepted the offer.

There was one restriction placed on this offer.  Most of these midwestern men were farmers, and agriculture was a vital wartime resource.  The spring planting was over, but the men needed to be back in time to harvest the crops.  Thus, the Governors specified that the men would only be away from home on active duty for a period of 100 days.  If the strategists were right, the war would be over by then.

This time limitation led to the nickname often used to describe these troops.  Combat veterans, dubious of the military skills of these part-time soldiers, mockingly dubbed them as being ‘100 Day Wonders.’


Chapter 2


The greatest variety of occupations you can imagine

The state of Ohio provided 35,646 National Guardsmen as her contribution to the cause, 5,646 more than she had promised.  This was typical of Ohio during the war.  Of the male residents of the state between the ages of 18 and 45, 3 out of every 5 served in the military.

Very quickly, the Ohio National Guard (ONG) battalions, composed of various numbers of companies, were activated and formed into regiments of Ohio Volunteer Infantry (OVI) with ten companies each.  Forty-two new regiments were formed in this manner, and were given the numbers 130 through 172 in the sequence of Ohio Infantry units. [1]

National Guard battalions with less than ten companies were combined as needed.  Thus it came about that the eight companies of the 39th ONG from Jefferson County and the two companies of the 88th ONG from Carroll County were merged to form the 157th Regiment OVI.  The Jefferson County companies were given the letter designation A through H.  The two from Carroll County were assigned I and K. [2]

While technically no longer National Guard units, the new regiments were never able to shed that reputation.  In both unofficial and official documents, the 157th OVI is often called the 157th Ohio National Guard.  Some of the members of the unit even have that designation in their GAR records and on their tombstones.  Other terms used to describe the unit were ‘Militia,’ ‘Home Troops’ and ‘Home Guard.’  These were often in a derogatory manner.

The unit’s identity crisis continues to this day.  Over the years, the 157th regiment has been misidentified by prisoners as the 107th, 110th and 111th OVI.  A modern editor, attempting to correct an error made by a diarist, compounds the problem by saying Ward must have meant the 147th O.V.I. [3]   The 147th Ohio never served at Fort Delaware.

The newly-formed regiment contained far more teenagers and men past forty than typically found in the civil war units.  This is not surprising, as the storehouse of prime soldier material had been depleted during the first three years of the war.  The old and the young were all that was left.

While all of the soldiers claimed to be between the required 18 and 45 years of age, some lied in get in.  Subsequent documents reveal fifteen-year-olds as well as those over fifty in the ranks, including one 61-year-old man in Company G.

The men came from a variety of backgrounds.  The regimental surgeon, Major William Eames, was not familiar with the other men of the unit, since he was not a National Guardsman.  He wrote to his wife back home in Ashtabula:

I am much pleased with the appearance of the regiment and all the officers. On looking over the muster rolls I see the greatest variety of occupations you can imagine. A large number from the iron manufacturing establishments of Steubenville, some clergy, plenty of farming, etc, etc [4] .

The Major’s evaluation was based on experience: he had been the surgeon of the 21st OVI in Tennessee for a year before resigning to serve in the U. S. Sanitary Commission.

Like Major Eames, other men in the National Guard also were Civil War veterans.  Private Joshua W. Cole of Company G had been wounded in the battle of Corinth, Mississippi in 1862 while serving with the 43rd OVI.  A musket ball hit his right arm, glancing off the bone and tearing the muscle and tendon.  His wounds healed, but the arm was permanently damaged.  Cole was given a discharge for disability in July of 1863, but his injury evidently was not enough to prevent his subsequent service.

Many other men in the newly formed regiment had similar histories of prior service.  Company A’s John M. Wilson already had served a hitch with the 3rd West Virginia Infantry.  Ford George of Company G was a veteran of the 104th OVI.

Abram Blackburn from Company B had served with the 84th OVI, while Fletcher Daton, 1st Lieutenant of Company C, had seen action with the 1st West Virginia Cavalry.  John Gossett, a member of Company D, had not only previously served in the 3rd OVI, he was a veteran of Mexican War.

And not all of the veterans had been soldiers.  Prussian-born George Deckman, a private in Company K, had sailed before the mast, cruising the South Pacific on the USS Independence back in the 1850s during his three-plus years in the United States Navy.

Command of this diverse regiment was given to the man in charge of the 39th ONG. [5]   A lawyer by profession, Colonel George Wythe McCook was another veteran of the Mexican War.  He was also a man of influence, having served as the Attorney General for the state of Ohio.  At the Democratic National Convention in 1856 at Cincinnati, McCook had given the Vice-presidential nominating speech.

What was perhaps more significant, for the previous twenty years McCook had been the law partner of Edwin M. Stanton.  Now serving as the Secretary of War in President Lincoln’s cabinet, Stanton was one of the most powerful men in the nation.

But the Colonel had his own claim to fame.  He was a member of the famous ‘Fighting McCook’ family of eastern Ohio.  McCook’s father, Daniel McCook, and uncle, John McCook, and all their thirteen living sons served in the Civil War.  While many families sent large numbers of soldiers into battle, the McCooks were noted for being in the upper ranks.  All but one of them were officers; the other having refused a commission.  Six of the McCooks rose to the rank of General, albeit some by brevet.  Among the others were a surgeon, a chaplain and a naval lieutenant.  There was a price to pay for this success, however.  George McCook’s father and three of his brothers would die during the war, all from wounds received in combat.

But the Colonel wasn’t the only person in the regiment who had a relative in the higher ranks.  Isaac N. Custer, a lieutenant of Company I, one of the companies from Carroll County, was a first cousin of George Armstrong Custer, who was rapidly becoming a national hero leading cavalry into battle.

Another notable member of the unit was its Adjutant, James Elliott, Jr.  A lawyer and three-term Clerk of Courts in Steubenville, Elliott had attended Jefferson University in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania.  A few weeks before graduating in 1848, Elliott and a few other students founded a social fraternity.  They called it Phi Gamma Delta.


Chapter 3

First Assignment
You ask why we are at Relay House

The men of the two National Guard units entered the service of the United States on May 2, 1864.  After spending about a week at Steubenville and Perrysville in their respective home counties, they received orders on May 10 to board railroad cars at three o’clock the next morning for transport to Camp Chase.

At this camp, just west of Columbus, Ohio, the final organizational adjustments were made to the regimental roster.  Major Eames and another surgeon, Thomas B. Eagle of Ashland County, were attached, two men were promoted from the ranks to vacant Field & Staff positions, and 21 men were added to Company C.  It is not known why this one particular company was short of men.

Captain H. Douglas of the 18th Regiment, United States Army, officially mustered the unit on May 15, 1864 at Camp Chase.  Three days later, having received their uniforms, arms and equipment, the men of the newly-minted regiment again boarded rail cars, this time bound for Baltimore, Maryland, with orders to report to General Lewis Wallace, commanding the Union’s 8th Army Corps.

As a veteran, Major Eames was used to train travel across the country in the military, but this trip was remarkable even to him.  As he explained in a letter to his wife:

Our journey from Columbus to Baltimore was tedious but full of interest.  All along the route we were saluted with cheers and smiles and waving of handkerchiefs and flags from early dawn to long after sunset.  Never in all my campaigning have I seen anything to compare with those manifestations of rejoicing for the promptness of the 100 day men of Ohio.  From the costly mansion and the Irish hovel – from the school houses and farm houses and manufactories – from laborers on the railroad tracks and from the cottage far up on the hill-side or among the distant trees were handkerchiefs and aprons and hands and hats and newspapers and flags waved till the train was out of sight. I noticed one man who had nothing to else to wave pull off one of his boots and swing that vigorously and shout Bully for the Buckeyes and another one seized a small child and swung it high above his head in his zeal to demonstrate his joy.  At one place in Maryland the students of a young ladies seminary had formed themselves in line by the road and such a snapping of linen handkerchiefs as they got up would be hard to beat.

At Steubenville the citizens rang the bells and called out immense crowds of people at 4 a.m. who staid till between 7 and 8 waiting with their baskets of good things and pails of coffee to greet and feed the soldiers.  At other places they sat up all night and when they found that the train would not stop, they threw their pies and cakes into the windows of the cars, and some of them run on after the train to the next depot, 2 or 3 miles, determined to see the soldiers.  At Pittsburgh we were escorted to the City Hall where a substantial repast was provided for the whole regiment and cheering words of welcome were spoken and responded to by one of our officers. [6]

During the layover at Pittsburgh, some of the soldiers took the opportunity to visit the Fort Pitt Foundry that was producing the large artillery pieces for the Union, such as the highly-touted 20-inch Parrot cannons.

Upon its arrival in Baltimore late in the day on May 19th, the 157th spent the night in the government-operated hotel known as Soldiers Rest.  General Wallace assigned the unit to General Erastus Tyler’s command.  Tyler was in fact from Ohio, having been Colonel of the 7th OVI in the early stages of the war.  Along with portions of the 144th OVI, the 3rd Maryland Potomac Home Brigade and two companies of the 1st Maryland Cavalry, the 157th Ohio comprised the 1st Separate Brigade of the 8th Corps.

General Tyler had his headquarters at Relay House, Maryland.  This small railroad station, at the time seven miles distant from the city of Baltimore, was one of the vital locations that the 100-days men had been mobilized to protect.

Relay House got its name from being the place where stagecoaches would get fresh horses.  Located southwest of the city, it was near the banks of the Patapsco River.  On May 20th, the unit marched from Baltimore, arriving at Relay House around 5 o’clock in the afternoon.  Their tents had not arrived, so the men slept under the stars.

The regimental surgeon explains their function in a response to a question from his wife:

You ask why we are at Relay House and think it folly to stay here.  There have been troops here ever since the war commenced and also at Baltimore....  This place is at the junction of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad and the Washington & Baltimore Railroad.  They both pass through a sort of notch in the hills and if these gaps are protected and the railroad bridge across the Patapsco River, there is little danger of the guerrillas injuring the great thoroughfare which now transports more army supplies and men than all the other roads in the Union.  If this point were not guarded the rebs would soon put a stop to the whole road.

Our regiment released a larger number of men than it contains who have gone to Grant’s army – some of them since we came here.  They were Maryland and Delaware troops.  I think we have strengthened Grant’s army as much and even more than if we have gone to it. [7]

Upwards of 40 trains a day passed through the junction.  In addition, the unit was providing a military presence outside Baltimore, which was noted for its sympathy to the South during the war.

The name of the site was variously called Relay House, Camp Relay and Camp McCook, the latter after the commanding officer of the regiment.  Life there was typical of military camps of the time, but this was an eye-opener to some of the naïve Ohio farmboys.  A member of Company H wrote to his family:

Camp life is a life of continual disturbance. You can see all sort of carrying on. Some are reading in the bible, some praying, singing, swearing, playing cards, lying, playing ball & I tell you they are good at stealing. I have seen more sin committed within the last two week then I ever did see befor in two months. Last knight we had 15teen loves of bread, 15 tins, 2 butcher knives stolen. We found out that Company C. had them and I think they will get their hands full of it. The Capt is a going to report to the colonel. [8]

Company C was composed primarily of factory workers from the industrial district of the city of Steubenville; the letter writer was from the rural farming community of Dover in Jefferson County.

Minor organizational changes within the regiment continued to be made while it was stationed at Relay House – Sergeant Benjamin H. Fisher from Company D was promoted to the position of Assistant Surgeon, and Private William D. Robb of Company B was discharged so he could accept a commission in the United States Navy.

As had been expected by the lead surgeon, disease began to take its toll once the regiment was camped in close quarters.  Measles came first, followed by pneumonia and typhus.  Some days more than 20 men were excused from duty because of illness in addition to those in the hospital.  The unit also suffered its first loss here, when George W. Thompson of Company I died of spotted fever on May 27th.  About this time, the men were given smallpox vaccinations.

Because of its limited term of duty, the regiment was not deemed worthy of being issued the regulation Sibley sleeping tent, so the men had to sleep in two-man dog tents to keep the rain off.  Officers ate at local boarding houses, but slept like the private soldiers in tents on the ground with cedar boughs as mattresses.

Hospital conditions were no better: the surgeon lamented to his wife:

Our Hospital is nearly ready to receive the sick & we have a supply of bed-sacks that would astonish you – viz. 15 old ones.  There are now 20 sick men in the Hospital besides nurses and we are having men come down with measles and fevers every day. They send 10 old blankets also & about the same proportion of every thing else.  I wish the Sanitary Commission could know how shabbily Ohio Soldiers are used in the Middle department.  They would send part of the stores which have been so liberally contributed by them & other to their aid....  The poor fellow that died the other day here with spotted fever died on a hard board with a little hay under him. [9]

The daily routine of a soldier in camp was described by Irvin W. Thompson of Company K in a letter that he wrote to his brother back in Carroll County, Ohio:

In the morning we have to get up and wash our faces, that is to be done before sun up and then have to go out on squad drill at five and half o’clock and drill till half past 6 and then we come in and eat our breakfast and then we go out and in company drill one hour and then we haint nothing to do till three P.M. then we go out on company drill till four o’clock and then we come in and wait til five and we go on dress parade and then we are march up till supper then we have Roll Call at 08 and the lights out at 09 o’clock. What do you think of that? [10]

One sidelight of the camp’s proximity to the nation’s capitol was the influx of visitors.  Secretary of War Stanton had given political patronage positions in Washington to a number of his Steubenville associates, so many of these former Ohio residents came out to Relay House to visit their old friends and acquaintances from back home.


Chapter 4

To Fort Delaware

Prepare the One hundred and fifty-seventh Ohio

After two weeks at Relay House, the 157th Ohio was ordered to break camp.  Major General Henry Halleck, Chief of Staff, had sent the following telegraph message to General Wallace on June 4th, 1864:

You will immediately send one regiment of Ohio 100-days' men to Fort Delaware to relieve the Fifth Maryland Regiment at that place. [11]

The 157th was selected as the appropriate unit, and so Wallace’s Assistant Adjutant-General sent the following telegraph to General Tyler:

Prepare the One hundred and fifty-seventh Ohio National Guard, Colonel McCook, to proceed at once to Fort Delaware.  Reply by telegraph, stating when it will be ready.  There will be a part of the First Eastern Shore Maryland Volunteers sent to you. [12]

Despite the joint efforts of Colonel McCook and General Tyler, the orders could not be changed.  So late Sunday afternoon, June 5th, the men marched into Baltimore, giving former Ohio Governor Tod [13] a cheer as they passed him at a downtown hotel.

There was speculation after the war that McCook had used his influence with Secretary Stanton to get the unit assigned to a non-perilous position.  At the first reunion of the 157th, on September 1, 1898, John P. Means, formerly a private of Company B, tried to dispel this rumor by saying:

…some people were probably of the opinion that Col. McCook went to Washington to have Secretary Stanton put the 157th in a safe place, so they would not get hurt.  But such was not the case.  A rebel regiment had been captured and the Fifth Maryland had been placed over it as a guard.  The Fifth was a paroled regiment and there were great objections to it doing guard duty.  The matter was brought to Stanton’s notice, and meeting Col. McCook he said I will get that matter off my mind by sending your regiment to Fort Delaware for guard duty. [14]

At the rail depot, the men of the 157th climbed onto cars, and headed east across the upper reaches of the Chesapeake Bay.  At the Susquehanna River, the cars were driven onto boats and ferried across with the men still in them.  Early the next morning, they arrived at New Castle, Delaware.  At noon, the regiment boarded the steamer Osceola for the short seven-mile trip to Pea Patch Island, located in the middle of the Delaware River, just south of Wilmington.

On this mostly artificial island was Fort Delaware.  Mounting 123 cannon on three levels in a pentagon-shaped structure, replete with a moat, the fortress was intended to protect the cities of Philadelphia and Wilmington from a naval assault up the river.  After it became obvious that such an attack from the Confederate Navy was not a major threat, the fort took on the additional function of being a prisoner-of-war camp.

The commanding officer of Fort Delaware was Brigadier-General Albin Schoepf.  Born in Poland, Schoepf had served in the Austrian army before immigrating to the United States in 1851.  His wartime experience in the United States consisted of commanding a division in the battle of Perrysville, Kentucky before being put in charge of the island fortress in 1863.

When the 157th Ohio arrived on June 6th to relieve the 5th Maryland Infantry, between 10,000 and 12,000 Confederate soldiers and Southern sympathizers were incarcerated on Pea Patch Island.  The 157th Ohio and three Pennsylvania Artillery units composed the entire guard for the island.

Prisoner W. W. Ward from Tennessee was keeping a diary and noticed the arrival of the unit, albeit incorrectly identifying them:

Monday, June 6th 1864.  The 107th Ohio, 100 days (molitia) arived and the 5th Maryland Regmt. left for Washington or Baltimore or the front I know not which. [15]

The unit’s appearance also was recorded in a diary kept by a Union artilleryman, A. J. Hamilton, stationed at the fort:

June 6.  The 157th Ohio (100 days men) came down here from New Castle to do duty. [16]

Hamilton, a member of the Pennsylvania Artillery, was not overly impressed by the new arrivals.  He mentions in subsequent entries:

June 7.  The Ohio Militia are just one Dutch guard.  They are very green.  One of their officers was on guard, got so drunk he was put in confinement.

June 8.  Some of the officers of the 157th are very green but industrious. [17]

And so the men from Ohio began to settle down into the drudgery and tedium of being guards at a prisoner-of-war camp.


Not all of the men of the regiment left Maryland at this time.  Some were required stay behind to be part of a General Court Martial.  This gave the fortunate few the opportunity to attend the Republican National Convention which was being held in Baltimore on the 7th and 8th of June at the Front Street Theater.  The chance to see and hear President Lincoln in person was an attraction not to be missed.

While the re-nomination of Lincoln for the presidency was a foregone conclusion, the addition of the abolition of slavery as a plank of the Republican platform was a significant event that occurred during the meeting.


Chapter 5


The barracks occupied by the nine companies are only sufficient for eight companies

The low-lying island was not well suited for inhabitation by the garrison, much less for holding prisoners-of-war.  Living in the middle of a river was less than ideal for guards and prisoners alike.  As the island was six feet below sea level at high tide; large retaining walls were needed to keep it from flooding.

It was constantly damp, sanitation was poor and living space was limited.  All food and necessities had to be transported to the island by boat.  Even drinking water had to be imported: a daily water boat brought brackish fresh water from nearby Brandywine Creek in Delaware.

High-ranking Confederate officers were held in Fort Delaware itself, which was located at the south end of Pea Patch Island.  Cold, damp and gloomy, the stone fortress was still preferable to living in the barracks, where the remaining prisoners lived and suffered.  Constructed on the northern part of the island, the crowded wooden barracks were drafty and poorly heated in the winter, miserably hot and stuffy in the summer.

Surrounding the barracks, a stockade fence kept the prisoners inside, while raised walkways behind the fence gave the patrolling sentries a clear view of the prison grounds.  The pen was divided into two sections, one for junior officers not housed in the fort and the other for enlisted men.

One of the first Confederate prisoners to arrive on the island described the sleeping arrangements:

The building was a rough wooden erection about 300 feet long by 30 wide, with three rows of shelves or bunks on each side.  While admiring the genius displayed in the construction of this remarkable building, I was roughly told ‘Git up there, and don’t stand garping like a hathern, up with you.’  In alarm I grasped on of the uprights, and with the exercise of considerable gymnastic skill, succeeded in reaching the second row of shelves, and quietly located myself.  When closed up to the proscribed limit, I found that I enjoyed about 5 feet by 2 of hard plank, which was to be my sleeping apartment for lo! These many days.  There was another grand objection to the shelves, they were built at an angle of about 45 degrees, so that fix up as we might, we would slide down, until our feet hung over the ledge in a frightfully dangerous manner.  I looked forward with horror to the long sleepless nights which I would have to endure in this miserable place. [18]

Most of the guards lived in the same type of poorly constructed barracks as the prisoners.  And, like the prisoners, they did not have enough room.  Acting Medical Inspector C. T. Alexander specifically mentioned the living conditions of the 157th Ohio in a report he made to the Commissary-General of Prisoners after his June 28th inspection of the prison:

The One hundred and fifty-seventh Ohio, 100-days’ men, form part of the garrison.  Nine companies of this regiment are in barracks now, one in tents.  The barracks occupied by the nine companies are only sufficient for eight companies.  I would respectfully recommend that tents be furnished to one company more of this regiment and they be immediately occupied, relieving the overcrowded state of one set of barracks.  This should be done without delay, as most of the sick of this regiment came from the overcrowded set of the barracks, and among them several cases of the measles. [19]

The cramped living conditions, along with the food supply, not only made the men miserable, but also made them prime targets for disease.  Besides the measles that the Medical Inspector mentioned, smallpox and typhoid were among the other common contagious ailments prevalent among the men on the island.  Obviously, the Union guards fared better than the Confederate prisoners, but the island was a prison for the guards, too.

The men of the 157th soon fell into the repetition of the routine at a prisoner-of-war camp.  The manpower requirement was around 250 guards per day, so the men would be on watch about every third day.  Issued 10 rounds of ammunitions when going on duty, a sentinel’s primary job was to stop the prisoners from escaping.

The Confederates were inventive in their quests for freedom.  One technique was described by a member of the regiment in a letter to his sister back home in Ohio:

Well, Suse, we have had some trouble with the rebs for the last week.  Some of them has taken a notion to leave us but I guess we can not spare them.  They would take their canteens & stop them up air tight and fasten them on boards and then slip out through the guards but I do not think their was over four or five got away (they would use the boards to keep them from sinking in the river.)  Oliver Naylor captured two after they got out in the river they was all under water but their face when he saw them first he thought it was a child but he soon found out better. [20]

Surgeon Eames describes similar attempts in a letter he wrote to his family:

The rebs here are trying to get away almost every night but do not succeed very well.  They get up all sorts of life preservers to ship on them when ever they can.  One of them had constructed a board in two pieces with a hinge to fold it up and 6 canteens fastened to each end. [21]

Between stints of guard duty, the men tried to keep themselves occupied with the normal military routine of daily musters, occasional inspections, equipment maintenance and the like, but it was never enough.  A trip to New Castle on the daily mail steamboat Osceola was possible only with the commanding general’s permission, which was seldom forthcoming, so the idle time was spent on the island in various levels of sheer boredom.

There were a few diversions besides the old military standby of gambling.  For those interested in reading, the fort held a well-stocked library and the Christian Commission distributed books every few days.  The heavy shipping traffic on the Delaware River was a source of fascination to the farm boys from Ohio, who would sit and watch the steamers, side-wheelers, ironclads and fishing boats for hours.  Fishing in the river was a popular pastime, with catfish being the most common catch, but eels and perch were available, too.

The prison had a nice, new, large church where two chaplains held regular services.  There was a camp band, and the obligatory dog that would howl while the band was playing.  The island even had its own ice cream salon.  But, in general, the hours would drag by slowly as the men waited for their next shift on watch.

Still, interesting episodes did occasionally break the monotony.  On June 12, the big transport Nightingale stopped at the island to pick up 93 members of ‘Company Q’ for transport to the Dry Tortugas.  This company consisted of Union soldiers under sentence for desertion, violence against officers, and other Federal offenses.  They were distinguished by wearing short coats and peaked caps trimmed with yellow.  They received no pay.  These convicts were on their way to help construct Fort Jefferson on a desolate island off Key West, Florida.

On another occasion, one member of the 157th, casually surveying the mass of Confederate prisoners while he stood guard, saw a man among them he thought he recognized.  Going up to him, he confirmed that it was indeed his brother, whom he had not seen in twelve years.  After a joyous, but brief, reunion, the men went their separate ways.

The two were William Urquhart, a corporal in Company D of the 157th, and his brother, James Urquhart, a former resident of Steubenville who had moved to the South and had become a Lieutenant-Colonel in a Louisiana regiment.


Chapter 6

The First

Charleston Voyage

We were still guarded by the Ohio militia

In June 1864, the Confederate general commanding Charleston, South Carolina, Sam Jones, ordered that fifty Union officers be held within range of the Union batteries that were regularly shelling the town.

Upon hearing reports of this action, the Union retaliated in kind.  Fifty high-ranking Confederate officers were ordered to be sent to Federally-controlled Morris Island in Charleston harbor.  This would have the effect of putting them within range of the Confederate cannons that were shelling Union positions.

The fifty were selected from the prisoners at Fort Delaware, and included the highest-ranking officers available.  Among them were Generals Jeff Thompson, James Archer, George Henry Steuart, Franklin Gardner and Edward Johnson.  Surgeon Eames watched the men depart with little regret:

We have had the pleasure of parting with some 50 or more of the Rebel officers today who were taken to Charleston, S. C. to put in the most exposed places there for the rebs to shoot at – in retaliation for their putting our men in Charleston to prevent our throwing shells into that infernal city.  The poor fellows hated to go, and one of the generals walked past my tent on two crutches. [22]

The men were sent off on June 26, aboard the Mary A. Boardman, a small, propeller-driven troopship.  The guard force on the ocean voyage consisted of men of the 157th Ohio and the Pennsylvania Artillery, all under the command of Captain John Young of Battery G of the artillery unit.  Which companies of the Ohio unit were involved is not known, but it was only a portion of the regiment.  John H. Harris, 2nd Lieutenant of Company A of the 157th, did go on this voyage, so it is possible that others of his company went, too.

One of the prisoners on the voyage, General Jeff Thompson of Missouri, later wrote about his escorts on the trip:

We were still guarded by the Ohio militia, and as all undisciplined soldiers, they were dirty and rude. [23]

Some of the wounded and sick prisoners were allowed to stay in cabins, such as Colonel W. W. Ward of Tennessee.  He watched as the vessel passed Fortress Monroe, Cape Hatteras and arrived off Charleston on June 29th.

Two days later the prisoners and guards were transferred to a repaired steamer tug, the USS Dragon.  The prisoners were relegated to the hold of the vessel, which was anchored off Morris Island, under the protection of the Union warships, while exchange negotiations dragged on.

Conditions aboard ship were miserable below deck with temperatures in the hold estimated as high as 130º.  At first, only two prisoners at a time were allowed on deck.  The rest had to stay in the unbearably hot hold.  Within a few days, however, the rules were relaxed, and over half the men could be on deck at once, and some men were even allowed to sleep on the deck at night.

On July 24, the guard force aboard the prison ship was relieved and sent back to Fort Delaware, arriving on July 30.  The standoff situation in Charleston harbor was not resolved until August 2nd, when the opposing authorities exchanged the prisoners for each other.  The Confederate officers had spent 37 days aboard the two prison ships.


Chapter 7

A Shooting Incident

The sentinel must enforce his orders by bayonet or ball

Besides being watched over day and night by guards overlooking the stockade, the prisoners at Fort Delaware even had their personal bodily functions under close scrutiny.  As the island had no sanitary facilities, crude outhouses, called ‘sinks,’ had been built on piers extending out over the river.

Like the barracks, these too were poorly designed.  Medical Inspector Alexander had addressed them in his report:

The privies here are a nuisance and a source of complaint.  They are not set back far enough for the excrescence to be removed by the tide, consequently the odor from it is most foul. [24]

He recommended the privies be placed so the tide would have a cleansing effect, but the camp authorities opted instead to use a water pump to flush the area.  Putting the sinks further out into the river made them more vulnerable to be swept away by ice floes during the winter, in addition to creating a longer area that needed to be guarded.

And the location of the latrines over the river did indeed make them attractive to the prisoners as an opportunity for escape.  Once off the island, they could float down the river on flotation devices, like those described, and make their way to Maryland, with its large population of Southern sympathizers.

To prevent this from happening, guards were stationed along the route the prisoners had to take while ‘going to the rear,’ as the trek to the latrines was humorously labeled.  Raised walkways paved with wooden planks led to and from the bridge to the sinks.

Orders had been issued to the guards to not allow prisoners to stop, loiter or congregate along these walkways, as this could distract the guards while other prisoners tried to escape.

Adding to the tension was the news that Confederate General Jubal Early and his army had crossed the Potomac River into Maryland on July 5th.  His intent was to threaten Washington, D. C. and to free the prisoners at Fort Delaware.  The entire guard force at the prison was on heightened alert.

This set of circumstance would lead to the 157th OVI into controversy that would evoke an official protest from the Confederate Congress.

On the evening of July 7, 1864, Private William G. Douglass [25] was on guard duty at Post 20 atop the water tower used to flush the latrines.  The English-born Douglass was one of the men who had been added to Company C while at Camp Chase, so he had not been a member of the National Guard unit.  But he was a Jefferson County resident, living in Steubenville.  He joined the regiment just two months after completing a tour of duty with the 129th Ohio Infantry, which had seen limited combat action during its six-month existence.

On one side of Douglass were fellow Company C comrades Bill Huscroft and Ed Huntsman at Guard Posts 19 and 19½.  On his other side, Jim Adams and John Zinc of Company F, occupied Posts 21 and 22, respectively.  Further away, Dick Woodward from Battery A of the Pennsylvania Artillery manned Post 23.  The end of their 2-hour shift was approaching.

Prisoner Edward Pope Jones was a member of the Virginia State Troops, and had been elected Colonel of the 109th Regiment of Virginia Militia.  He was commanding a small force called out to defend against Kilpatrick’s raid when he was captured in May of 1863.  Held at Fort Delaware ever since, the Colonel had a foot injury had made it difficult for him to walk.

About half-past eight on the fateful evening, Colonel Jones left the latrine to return to his barracks, walking along the narrow, 30-foot long bridge from the sink.  Calcium carbide lamps fitted with reflectors located atop the sinks lit the way in the gathering dusk.

As he reached the intersection of the raised plankways that ran throughout the prison compound, Jones joined a crowd of prisoners who had gathered there.  Possibly nervous about the number that had congregated, Douglass ordered them to disperse.  Most of the Confederates left quickly, but Colonel Jones, with his bad foot, couldn’t comply as fast as the others.

Soon thereafter, Private Douglass fired his weapon.  The shot hit Jones, who was about twenty feet away, and he tumbled off the plankway and down the embankment.


The Shooting of Colonel Jones

Acting Assistant Surgeon G. W. Nugent was called to tend to the Colonel and described the wounds:

The ball entered the right shoulder, fracturing the humerus about one inch below the shoulder joint; penetrated the chest and made its exit therefrom at the junction of the fifth rib with the sternum of the right side [26]

The surgeon was optimistic about the prisoner’s recovery, since the lung has not been penetrated, but the wound was mortal.  Jones lingered several days, dying on the evening of the July 9th.

Even while the Colonel was on his deathbed, General Schoepf ordered an immediate investigation of the incident.  The day after the shooting, he appointed an official Board of Examination to conduct a hearing to interview participants and witnesses, and to decide if the shooting was warranted.

The officers selected included the superior officers of the men on guard duty at post near the shooting.  Named to the Board were Lieutenant William Hall of the Pennsylvanian Artillery, Captain Alexander Smith of Company F and 1st Lieutenant James Fletcher Daton of Company C, both the 157th OVI.  The selection of Daton was likely not merely fortuitous, as he was a Cleveland Law College graduate, who, the year before, had been elected as the Prosecuting Attorney for Jefferson County.

The Board convened on the same day, meeting in the Garrison Room of the Fort.  One at a time, the guards were brought in to testify.  Douglass was the first to be called.  He claimed that four times he ordered Jones to move on, and that the Colonel, who was twenty to thirty feet away and who had been in the area for ten minutes, had refused to do so.  He concluded with the statement:

Then I said the third time, If you don’t leave, I’ll shoot you.  The man still stood there.  I said again, Leave.  He muttered something, and then I shot him. [27]

Following Douglass, the five other sentinels on duty at the time on either side of Douglass’ post were called, and, in their testimony, verified that they heard Douglass warn Jones at least three times with ample pauses between each warning.  They reported, however, that the language that Douglass used as being coarser and cruder than he had claimed he had used.

The number of warnings was crucial.  Standing orders required that a guard issue three distinct warnings before taking any action.  Issued by Schoepf on June 1, 1864, these orders were supposedly read regularly to the guards before they went on duty, were posted in the guard room and were also posted inside the prison stockade for the prisoners to read.  They said, in part:

Should the sentinel detect any prisoner in violating these instructions, he must order him three distinct times to halt, and if the prisoner obeys the order the sentinel must call for the corporal of the guard and have the prisoner placed in arrest; but should the prisoner fail to halt when so ordered, the sentinel must enforce his orders by bayonet or ball. [28]

Based on the corroborating testimony from the other sentinels, the Board of Examination had little choice but to justify the guard’s actions as being in accordance with the prison rules.  They concluded:

We, the undersigned, commissioned officers, appointed as a board of examination in pursuance of Special Orders, No. 213, for the purpose therein expressed, do find that Lieut. Col. E. P. Jones, One hundred and ninth Virginia, C. S. Army, was shot by said Private William G. Douglass, One hundred and fifty-seventh Regiment Ohio State National Guard, on the night of July 7, 1864.

We further find that said Jones was shot by said Douglass while said Douglass was in discharge of his duties as a sentinel, and exonerate said Douglass of all blame. [29]

None of the prisoners were interviewed as part of the official investigation.  They tell a different story about the incident.  McHenry Howard, a Maryland staff officer who was at the scene, later recalled:

I had gone to the sink and was returning when the sentinel on the fence ordered me to go double quick.  I did not do so, but had a feeling in my back of half expectation of a bullet but luckily had not many steps to go before I turned a corner of the dining house.  I said when I got back to the front of my division that that man would shoot somebody before the night was over.

While I was speaking a shot rang out in that direction and word came that the sentinel had shot down a Lieutenant-Colonel Jones, of Essex or Middlesex County, Virginia.  He was returning from the sink when the sentinel ordered him to double quick and on his not doing so, shot him.  Colonel Jones was only an officer in the Home Guard of his County, and he was crippled by some disability in his legs.

The gate of the prison was presently thrown open and General Schoepf came in with a surgeon and a body of men, I think also Captain Ahl. [30]   I walked over to the middle of the enclosure as they came back bearing the mortally wounded man and I heard him say, General, what did he shoot me for?  I was not doing anything and did not even know that he was speaking to me.  He died the next day or day after. [31]

According to Dr. I. W. K. Handy, a political prisoner at Fort Delaware:

The murder of Col. Jones is the meanest, and most inexcusable affair that has occurred in the officers’ quarters; or that has come under my own observation since my imprisonment at Fort Delaware.  I did not see him fall; but have learned from Capt. J. B. Cole, who was an eye-witness to the whole scene, that although he was standing within ten steps of the man that killed him, he heard no challenge, nor any order to move on.  The first intimation he had of the sentinel’s displeasure was the discharge of the musket, and the simultaneous exclamation of the Colonel - Oh, God Oh, God! My God, what did you shoot me for?  Why didn’t you tell me to go on?  I never heard you say anything to me! And with a few such exclamations, he sank upon the ground; and then fell, or rather, rolled, down the embankment

At the time he was shot, he was hobbling along, with one shoe, and was carefully stepping down a rough place near the waterhouse, buttoning his pants.  He could not have been more than twenty steps from the point of the musket.  It is said, that the murderer seemed, all day, to be seeking an opportunity to shoot some one.  It is, also, reported that Capt. Ahl was seen on the top of the shanty, giving some orders, only a few moments before the catastrophe.  These are all the facts that I can learn, concerning this melancholy affair, except that Col. Jones has been taken to the hospital, and that there is no prospect of his recovery. [32]

Handy augmented his diary after the war, so it is hard to say what was recorded at the time and what was added, but other prisoners have recorded the incident:

While at Fort Delaware, one of our number, Colonel Jones, of Virginia, was murdered by one of the guards.  Colonel Jones had been sick for sometime.  One foot was so swollen he could not bear a shoe upon it, and it was with difficulty he walked at all.  One evening he hobbled to the sinks.  As he was about to return a considerable crowd had collected there.  The sentinel ordered them to move off, which they did.  Colonel Jones could not move fast.  The sentinel ordered him to move faster.  He replied that he was doing the best he could, he could not walk any faster, whereupon the sentinel shot him, the ball passing through the arm and lungs.  He lived about twenty-four hours.  He remarked to the commandant of the post: Sir, I am a murdered man - murdered for nothing - I was breaking no rule. [33]

The surgeon of the 157th OVI provided this inaccurate version of the incident in a letter to his family:

A few nights ago a rebel Colonel was shot by one of our men because he would not stop when he called to him.  The sentinel called to him three times & then fired.  The rebel lived two days and a half & died this morning. [34]

Eames was mistaken, because from the testimony, Douglass’ orders to Jones were not to stop but to hurry along.

When prisoner John Swann arrived at the prison some days after the shooting, he heard about it in a dramatic and personal fashion:

After my first breakfast about 9 A.M. I walked along the plank way to the retreat built over the bay.  (I will here remark there were plank ways around the prison bysected by other plank walk ways, made essential by the damp earth.)  Crossing the bridge over the ditch to my right as I was returning the same way, the sentinel over the resort hailed "go to the right." I did not understand him at the moment and stopped. He repeated the order in a rough way.  One of the prisoners passing pointed to the left plank way and said "go that way."  This was on my right as I was returning.  I returned to the prison yard and this prisoner coming up said, "You were in danger just now."  I said "How?"  "Why," said he, "Colonel Jones was shot and killed where you were the other day for not coming out the left way promptly when ordered to do so."  I said, "And what was done with the sentinel?"  He replied, "He was promoted."  The same thing I heard from others.  They said the Colonel was afflicted, I forget how, and was slow in obeying the order, and shot in the act of turning to go to the right.  I will say that going to the right was essential to prevent confusion. [35]

On July 15th, Surgeon Eames laconically commented in a letter to his wife:

The boy who shot the reb Col. Jones was tried and acquitted and I presume he will try to kill another one. [36]

The day after the shooting, Dr. Handy recorded in his diary:

The boy who shot Col. Jones is again on guard, this morning, and it is reported that he has been promoted to a corporalcy.  He belongs, I think, to an Ohio regiment, is about eighteen years old, and is known as Bill Douglas. [37]

Fifty years after the incident, one of the former prisoners from Arkansas recorded the shooting and added:

The next morning the guard appeared acting as a Corporal, as a reward of merit for killing Jones, I suppose. [38]

Instances of guards shooting prisoners for actual or imagined violations of prison rules were commonplace in prisoner-of-war camps both North and South.  Prisoners on each side believed that the guards received a promotion or furlough as a reward for killing a prisoner.

A more recently published version [39] of the incident has the private being promoted all the way to sergeant.  No support for this reward system has been found.  In Douglass’ case, he remained at the rank of private for his entire military career, according to his service record.

Despite the fact that a collection of over $100 was raised by his fellow prisoners to fulfill Colonel Jones’ deathbed request for his body to be sent home to Virginia, he was buried at Finn’s Point on the New Jersey shore of the Delaware River.  Most of the prisoners and guards who died at Fort Delaware were buried there.

On July 10th, General Schoepf forwarded the Board’s findings to the Commissary-General of Prisoners, William Hoffman.  His cover letter included this summarization of his opinion of the matter:

Many of the prisoners have been accustomed to insult and trifle with the sentinels because they are militia, and this shooting is one of the results of it. [40]

Colonel Hoffman seemed to have a different opinion than General Schoepf of the incident.  He appears to be somewhat skeptical of the need for such drastic action, and placed the ultimate blame on the General.  He forwarded the report to the War Department with the comment:

There are many ways of punishing a prisoner for disobedience of a sentinel’s order when not attended with a demonstration of violence without going to the extremity of shooting him down, and in the case reported there seems to have been nothing to call for such severe measures.

If the sentinel was governed by his orders, as from the proceedings it may be presumed he was, he is excusable, and the responsibility rests upon the commanding officer. [41]

Whether Hoffman had any particular animosity toward Schoepf is not known.  He may have simply felt that the standing orders gave the sentinels too much latitude in the use of force.  However, this benevolent attitude was not often found among those in charge of prisoners on either side of the conflict.

The War Department forwarded the report to the Commissioner for Exchange of Prisoners for final action.  Major-General Ethan Allen Hitchcock, a Vermonter, was in this position that required consummate tact.  He demonstrated his ability in his response:

If prisoners of war obstinately refuse obedience to the orders of a sentinel, as appears to have been the case in this instance, very unfortunate consequences are to be expected. [42]

The Confederate Congress filed an official protest with the United States government about this shooting, but no response from Washington was ever forthcoming.


Chapter 8

Continued Monotony

The days is all alike here

Life at Fort Delaware gradually returned to its normal routine after the shooting, but the nervousness about Early’s raid and the escape attempts continued.  An armed steamer and a revenue cutter maintained a presence offshore the island.  Authorities started to crack down on the prisoners.  All canteens were taken away from the Confederates, as was any Federal clothing that they could use as a disguise.  The rules against loud talk after 9 o’clock in the evening in the prisoner barracks were strictly enforced.

And the number of Union sentinels on duty at any one time was increased.  This resulted in the men being scheduled to stand guard every other day instead of every third day.  This naturally brought about an increase in the number of sick call attendees.  Surgeon Eames had the duty of making the decision if a man from the 157th was ill enough to be excused from having to go on guard duty, certainly an unenviable job.

One day a man showed at sick call up claiming to be sick from fear of having to be on duty near the prisoner’s Small Pox Hospital.  Failing to be excused, he refused to stand his guard, and was imprisoned as a result.  His fear may have been justified, as the next day, one of his comrades, Private William Negus of Company I, died of smallpox.

Measles continued to be a problem among the men, especially in Company G.  Private John M. Crawford died at Fort Delaware on July 31st.  At least two other men from his company, Privates Stephen B. Hastings and Thomas Megrail, were sent back to Jefferson County after contracting the disease.  Both eventually died, Hastings just eight days after he arrived home.

As the end of their enlistment period grew nearer, another concern began to affect the regiment.  To help replace the soldiers who were leaving the army after their 3-year term expired, the US government had instituted a draft.  The men of the 157th worried that they would get home just in time to be drafted back into the service.

There was speculation afoot that the regiment would be held in service until after September 20th, when the draft had been completed, to prevent this from happening.  Colonel McCook even made a special trip to Washington to investigate the matter.  Perhaps his influence with his law partner, Secretary of War Stanton, was decisive, as 100-days men were declared exempt from the draft.

Adding to the woes of officers of the unit was the closing of their boarding house toward the end of July.  Forty or so officers had been eating their meals in the rough-looking yellow building since their arrival.  When the keeper tried to raise the rates, most of the officers objected, refusing to pay the increase, so he shut down the whole operation.

This meant that the officers had to try to subsist on army-issued rations, which proved to be somewhat of a shock to their digestive systems.  Some even had to scrounge up some sort of eating utensil to partake of the repast - the Surgeon made good use of the duty medicine spoon.

Food from the sutler was exorbitantly expensive, and supplies purchased at New Castle on the Delaware shore were priced two to three times their normal cost.  Some officers resorted to joining the Band’s mess to keep their food expense down.

It is likely that the relationship between General Schoepf, commanding the prison, and Colonel McCook, commanding the 157th OVI, was strained at best.  Schoepf held a higher rank, but McCook’s political and military connections must have rankled and intimidated the General.  For example, McCook managed to get Surgeon Eames a room in the fort, despite the General’s reluctance.  Adding to the problem was the fact that Schoepf had a Southern wife, and was suspected by some of the Union officers of having sympathy towards the South.

Fortunately for Schoepf, McCook seems to have spent little time on the island.  He arrived at Fort Delaware several days after his unit did in June, then left later in that month, returning on June 24th, only to depart again four days later to attend to his mortally-wounded brother, Colonel Dan McCook.

He did not return until late in the month of July, and subsequently made the aforementioned trip to Washington.  So McCook was not present at Fort Delaware much of the time, which was probably a great relief to the General.

Schoepf’s wife and children lived with him in a comfortable home on the island.  The children enjoyed being the center of attention – one of their favorite amusements was being driven around the island in a carriage pulled by a pair of trained goats.  One day, while crossing a bridge, the carriage fell off into the moat.  Nearby was Thomas A. Gambel, Captain of Company E, who leapt into the water and helped rescue the children.  As a reward, General Schoepf gave Gambel a two-week furlough and $50 to buy himself a new uniform.

Enigmatic events continued to abound on the island.  On August 14, the Pennsylvanian artilleryman entered into his diary:

A first lieutenant took the place of one of his guards last night.  Lt. Winters, Company B, 157th Ohio. [43]

No further explanation is provided for this unusual occurrence.  There was no 1st Lieutenant named Winters in Company B.  The officer was possibly 39-year old Nicholas Winters who was a 2nd Lieutenant in Company E, but it also could have been William Winters, the 2nd Lieutenant of Company H.

            Overall, however, the repetitious routine became soon became oppressive.  As one soldier of the 157th wrote to his brother:

Tell mother that we have prayer meeting in our barrack once every week that is besides them prayers she told me to say em every night and to keep the Sabbath day Holy. We have no Sabbath day here. The days is all alike here. [44]


Chapter 9

The Second

Charleston Voyage

Most of them were Ohio fops

In August of 1864, a series of events began that would embroil the 157th Ohio in a controversy that continues to this day.  It involved a second ocean voyage to Charleston, South Carolina with prisoners of war.

Northern authorities learned that 600 Union officers were being held at the Charleston Jail, within the range of Union artillery fire.  This likely was not a deliberate attempt by the South to repeat the maneuver that had occurred in June, just a defensive reaction to Stoneman’s raid into Georgia.  The prisoners were being moved to more secure sites.  Regardless, the North retaliated by ordering that 600 Confederate officers be placed on Morris Island in Charleston Harbor in a similar position.

Once again, the prisoners selected for this dubious distinction came from the Confederate officers being held at Fort Delaware.  The significance of this maneuver is reflected in the amount of bureaucratic bumbling that it created.

The prisoners were originally told they would leave on August 13 as prisoner J. R. McMichael of Georgia recorded in his diary:

Aug 12 - Early roll. Gen Shoepf present, tells us that quite a number will be sent off tomorrow for Charleston.  Great rejoicing and speculating as to who will be the fortunate ones. [45]

However, the next morning, after the specific men were selected, the journey was postponed.  Departure remained on a day-to-day basis, as indicated by these further entries in prisoner McMichael’s diary:

Aug. 13 - Early roll call.  Commence calling out the field officers that are to be sent off.  Next captains, alphabetically.  Some are left who have been in prison nearly two years.  We were soon ready to start, but Sunday 14th finds us still in the barracks.

Aug. 17 - Have not left the island yet. [46]

Eventually, the prison commandant and his adjutant were summoned to Washington for a high-level conference about the planned operation.  Their absence was a boon to the prison guard force, as the Pittsburgh artilleryman recorded:

Aug. 18 - The general and Ahl have gone to Washington.  Col. McCook in command and he is giving passes to the boys. [47]

The passes allowed the men to take the boat for liberty in the nearly towns, where liquor and women were among the available distractions.  Evidently Colonel McCook was more liberal than his fellow officers in issuing passes.

The meeting in Washington must have settled whatever issues were delaying the trip.  When the general returned, the arrangements were quickly competed, orders were issued, and the prisoners and guards were loaded aboard ship.  It was August 20, a week later than first scheduled.

The vessel selected for the journey was the Crescent City, a sidewheel steamboat.  Before the war, she had been a regular on the trade route between in her namesake city of New Orleans and Galveston, Texas.  After being seized by the Union, the ship gradually had worked its way around to the Atlantic coast where it was engaged, along with a number of other vessels, in ferrying men and supplies to the Union-held ports along the eastern coast of the Confederacy.

Col. Abram Fulkerson, 63rd Tennessee Infantry, was one of the officers selected for the trip who later described its beginning and the living conditions:

Everything in the prison was bustle and confusion, but preparation was easily made, as the officer had but little clothing other than that on their person.  Everything being in readiness, the 600 passed out of the gate of the prison pen and were formed in two ranks on the outside.  Ranks were opened, and what luggage the officers had and their clothing were thoroughly searched as a measure of precaution to prevent the carrying aboard the vessel contraband articles. The inspection being complete, we were marched to the wharf, where we found the steamer, Crescent City, ready for our reception and entertainment, such as it was.  When the head of the column passed the gangway, to our utter astonishment, the guards directed us to pass down a ladder leading from the hatchway into the hold of the vessel, instead of allowing us to go on deck, as we reasonably expected they would.  This hold, or hole, was below the water-line, without light, and very imperfectly ventilated from above.  Lines of shelves about two feet wide, projecting from the walls of the vessel, from the bottom to the floor above, and running around the entire space allotted to us, one above the other, at a distance hardly sufficient to allow a man lying down to turn over, served as our berths or bunks, which were occupied by the officers lying head to foot.  No seats were furnished, and the space, other than that taken up by the bunks, hardly afforded comfortable standing room for the 600.  We were guarded by 100 day soldiers who had never seen service at the front and who were devoid of the fellow feelings that characterizes soldiers who have met each other on the battle field.  This company of soldiers occupied the deck of the vessel, and besides a heavy guard kept duty all the time on deck, a sentinel was posted at the foot of the ladder in the hold, where he could keep constant watch over the movements of the prisoners, and another sentinel was kept day and night at the hatch-way above. [48]

Fellow passenger George W. Nelson of the Virginia Hanover Artillery gives another description of the living conditions aboard the vessel:

Bunks had been fixed up for us.  There were arranged in three tiers along the whole length of the ship, two rows of three tiers each on each side of the vessel, leaving a very narrow passageway, so narrow that two men could with difficulty squeeze by each other.  In the centre of the rows the lower and centre tiers were shrouded in continual night, the little light through the port hole being cut off by the upper tier of bunks.  My bunk, which was five feet ten inches square, and occupied by four persons, was right against the boiler, occasioning an additional amount of heat, which made the sensation of suffocation almost unbearable.  Here we lay in these bunks, packed away like sardines, in all eighteen days, in the hottest part of summer.  In two instances the guard placed in with us fainted.  I heard one of them remark: A dog couldn’t stand this. [49]

The 100-days men to whom Fulkerson refers were members of Company C of the 157th Ohio. [50]   There were, however, also soldiers of the Pennsylvania Heavy Artillery along as part of the guard.  The commanding officer of Company C, Captain James H. Prentis [51] , was put in charge of the entire Union forces on the ship.  Prentis was a veteran, having been a private in the 20th OVI (3 months service) early in the war, and afterward a Lieutenant in the 1st OVI in Tennessee.  He had resigned his commission because of illness and a needy mother.

Three men kept diaries of the voyage - two of the Confederate prisoners, Major J. Odgen Murray of the 7th Virginia Cavalry and Captain J. R. McMichael of the 12th Georgia Infantry, along with one of the guards, the Pennsylvania artilleryman A. J. Hamilton who has been quoted previously.  The combined entries probably tell the most accurate account of the trip.

August 20:

Guard Hamilton:  Am detailed to go to Charleston with the Rebel Officers.  At 3pm we fell in and marched to the barracks and by 5 were aboard the Crescent and under way.  There are 35 of our boys and about 90 of the other two batteries and of Company C., 157th Ohio. [52]

Prisoner McMichael:  Bade farewell to friends in the barrack and marched out to the wharf and then crowded with six hundred officers in the hole of the U. S. Steamer Crescent.  About 5 p.m. the anchor weighed, we left the island so long to be remembered, and started to Charleston.

I occupied a bunk with three others.  Two feet below and two feet above lay others.  Thus we lay rolling, tumbling, heaving and sweating for many long days and nights.

The Yankee Captain Prentice who commanded the guard would not allow many to go up on deck at a time and when we did his guard were watching an opportunity to insult us so we had to lie on our backs and pant for breath.  I am sure I have never seen men suffer for air, space, and food as we have. [53]

Prisoner Murray:  Left wharf at 3 p.m.  All of said officers, except sick and wounded, are placed in the hull of the ship nearly without air, and many in the dark, having a sick and deadly smell.  Ran until 7 p.m.  Anchored in Delaware Bay.  Lay at anchor all night. [54]

August 21

Prisoner Murray:  Weighed anchor at 3 a.m.  Ran to the mouth of the bay, arrived there at 8 a.m.  Anchored awaiting convoy.  Admiral convoy arrived at 6 p.m., weighed anchor; ran all night. [55]

Guard Hamilton:  It was raining and blowing briskly, some of the boys take their first lesson in seasickness.  Among the prisoners below decks it is absolutely horrible. [56]
August 23

Prisoner Murray:  Continued on our journey.  Very warm and sultry in our position.  Men fainting occasionally. [57]

August 24.

Guard Hamilton:  At about 3:30 a.m. our pilot ran us aground off Georgetown Courthouse on the coast of South Carolina.  We all believe that the Rebels bribed them to so.  Our convoy signaled for us to stop but to no avail, she kept on her course till she stuck.  When daylight came we found our position rather an unpleasant one as we were hard abound almost within rifle shot of the enemy’s coast and distant not more than 15 miles from on of his strongholds.  We were unable to advance or retreat without becoming prey to the Rebels or to the water and a very small storm would blow us all to pieces.  The Johnnies at any time might bring a small battery to bear on us and knock us into a cocked hat.  I was very strongly tempted to shoot the pilot but was restrained by Captain Prentice, who told him he would give him until noon to get the boat off or he would have him shot.  He went to work and at 10:00 a.m. we were in motion. [58]

Prisoner Murray:  Ran on sand bar 3 a.m. off Cape Romain, S. C.  Got off sand bar 8 a. m. after heaving overboard several tons of coal. Ran in sight of Charleston 4 p.m.  Could see the Yankee fleet lying inside the bar, could see very distinctly the flash of the guns.  We continued to run until 9 p.m.  Anchored off the harbor of Port Royal, S. C. [59]

August 25

Guard Hamilton:  During the night, R. MacPherson was put under arrest by the Officer of the Guard.  At about 6 we got a pilot and about 8 we were at Port Royal.  Captain Prentice went ashore, reported to Gen. Foster and preferred charges against the Officers of the boat.  The general had the captain and second mate put in irons. [60]

Prisoner Murray:  Ran into the harbor, anchored off Hilton Head, 8 a.m.  Lay at anchor the balance of the day.  A beautiful day.  Pleasant on upper deck, warm below. [61]

The same day, naval officers from the USS Delaware arrived to hold a Court of Inquiry over the grounding incident off Cape Romain.  Both officers of the Crescent City were found guilty.  The captain got off with a reprimand while the second mate was assessed a fine of $100 and imprisoned until it was paid.

Meanwhile, the Confederate prisoners’ status aboard the Crescent City remained the same as before.

August 26

Prisoner Murray:  The nights of the 25th and 26th were the hottest night we ever experienced, had to fan all night, and our shirts wet with perspiration.

We were guarded by the 157th Militia, and a company of deserters, commanded by one Capt. Prentiss, an overbearing, tyrannical rascal, who let his men pillage our baggage, rob men of all their clothing, and in one instance one of our men caught a Yankee stealing his hat.  He was pointed out to this scoundrel, but he refused to make him give it up.  He talked to the men as though they were dogs.  We are subject to all insults that a lot of degraded men calling themselves soldiers could offer and protected by the beast of a Captain commanding them. [62]

August 27

Prisoner Murray:  Capt. Prentiss, with militia and deserters, relieved today. [63]

The changing of the guard did not change the conditions for the prisoners.  They remained aboard the sweltering ship.

September 6

Prisoner McMichael:  No relief yet.  Eighteen days since we were packed into this hole.  Think of it - no chance to walk, no chance to wash, and nothing to east but hard tack and salt meat once a day.  The water we have to drink is hot, hot.  Oh! What I would give for a good drink of water. [64]

September 7

Prisoner McMichael:  About twelve o’clock we were landed on Morris Island and marched by a negro guard to a stockade. [65]

The prisoners had spent eighteen days confined in the hold of the ship.

The men remained on the island, living in tents, constantly subject to friendly fire from Fort Sumner, until October 26.  Amazingly, no casualties occurred.  Most of the men were taken to Fort Pulaski for several months and eventually returned to Fort Delaware in March 1865.

After the war, several other prisoners wrote of their tribulations on the journey.  With the passage of time, their accounts contain both more factual errors and bitterness about their treatment.

Later, Murray would expand upon his diary entries with the following image of the conditions aboard ship, while misidentifying the guard unit:

The hold - or hole - of the Crescent City, in which we were packed, was below the ship’s water line, imperfectly ventilated, poorly lighted, and vile in odor of tar and grease.  Our guard - 110th Home Guard of Ohio, hundred day men who had never seen any field service, were perfectly devoid of feeling, especially so for Confederate soldiers and made our condition much worse than those English soldiers in the Black Hole of Calcutta.  The guards were quartered upon the upper deck of the ship, one sentinel was stationed on deck at the hatchway and one below at foot of the ladder leading on deck, and under no circumstances would these sentinels allow more than two or three prisoners on deck at one time to catch a breath of fresh air. [66]

Another author was John J. Dunkle of the 25th Virginia Infantry, who wrote a bitter invective under the pseudonym Fritz Fuzzlebug about his experiences on the trip.  Included in his story is this commentary on the character of the guard unit:

Our guard consisted of one hundred Ohio Militia, commanded by two lieutenants.  They are just as mean and ruthless as Yankees generally were, exhibiting all that villainy and cowardice so peculiar to Yankee soldiers, especially militia, who had never been in the front of battle.  They offered many indignant insults to our honor and cause.  Most of them were Ohio fops, having scarcely enough to carry them to the table. [67]

After their eventual release and return home, the former prisoners on the voyage became known as ‘The Immortal Six Hundred’ from the hardships they suffered aboard ship, during their placement under fire on Morris Island and at Fort Pulaski.

Despite the misery on the ship, there were no fatalities during the voyage.  In fact, some prisoners were sufficiently healthy to plan escapes and to consider seizing the vessel when it ran aground off Cape Romain.

An entry in the artilleryman’s diary didn’t sound like all the prisoners were outraged over their treatment:

Our Johnnies previous to our getting off the bar were in such good humor over the thing that they offered to give us our parole for our good treatment of them. [68]

And at least one Confederate officer didn’t take exception to the treatment.  Henry Handerson, an Ohio native who was with the 9th Louisiana Infantry, said in his memoirs, written circa 1890:

On August 20th we embarked on the S. S. Crescent City, in the hold of which we were provided with shallow wooden ‘bunks, and nearly suffocated with heat and foul air.  The officers of the guard, however, allowed us as much liberty in coming upon deck as was consistent with safety, and, indeed, treated us with great humanity. [69]

Considering the fatality rates at other prisons during the Civil War, both in the North and in the South, it would seem that these men did not endure anything close to the worst of hardships that were suffered by prisoners, at least not during the voyage on the Crescent City.


Chapter 10

Mustering Out and After

Accident by meat hook

In late August, the men of the 157th Ohio began to anxiously await the end of their enlistment and their return home. The 6th Massachusetts Infantry, also 100-days men, arrived at Fort Delaware to relieve them.  On August 24th, nine of the ten companies of the regiment sailed off the island on the steamer Major Reybold, were loaded onto rail cars and traveled back to Ohio, stopping at Steubenville at 1:00 in the morning on the 28th of August to change trains.  There they met many friends and relatives before continuing on to Camp Chase to be mustered out of government service, back into civilian life.

Of course, mustering out was not accomplished without the usual government bureaucracy.  Each company’s officers had to account for all clothing, arms, haversacks, knapsacks, canteens and other equipment that had been issued to each soldier, along with verifying payroll status.  After the paymaster had approved the accounts of enlisted men, the company officers were processed, followed by the regimental staff.  Wrong instructions resulted in mistakes in the company accounts, causing further delays.

Finally, everyone was satisfied and the unit was ready to be discharged.  Major G. E. Johnson performed the honors on the second day of September 1864.

Company C had not accompanied their comrades to Camp Chase, as it had not yet returned from its prisoner escort mission to Charleston.  The reason that it was selected for the task may have been that it was composed of a large number of young, unmarried boys who wouldn’t mind getting home a few days late.  In any event, this last company eventually reached Camp Chase to be discharged on September 10, 1864, thus completing the final chapter of the brief existence of the 157th Regiment of Ohio Volunteer Infantry.

The regiment had served more than its allotted 100 days.  Most men were in the service of the Federal government from May 2 to September 2, exactly 120 days.  Less than 85 of those days were spent on duty at Fort Delaware guarding prisoners.

With the dissolution of the regiment, most men returned to their homes, wives and families and resumed their former occupations.  The farmers had made it back in time for the fall harvest.

Some men decided that they liked army life enough to enlist in other units.  Captain Prentis joined the military for the fourth time in March of 1865, serving as captain of Company H, 195th OVI.  Likewise, Marshall Ray Hobbs, bugler of Company E, re-enlisted on October 6, 1864 at Fort Delaware, joining Captain John Jay Young's Independent Battery G of the Pennsylvania Volunteer Heavy Artillery to play in the band.  He would participate in the services honoring President Lincoln’s funeral train.

Lieutenant Newton Ferree of Company C would stay in the Washington, D.C. area and was outside Ford’s Theater the night that Lincoln was assassinated.  He rushed inside and was among those who tended to the dying president.

Colonel McCook returned to Ohio to his law practice and to his politics.  At the 1868 Democratic National Convention in Cincinnati, he gave the nominating speech for Horatio Seymour’s unsuccessful bid for President.  In 1871, McCook ran for governor of Ohio, but was defeated.

Adjutant Jim Elliott lived in Topeka, Kansas for a while, but returned to Steubenville to become a two-term mayor of the city.  Later, he was assured a seat in Congress, but declined to run because of health problems.  His alma mater, Jefferson College, eventually merged with Washington College, but the fraternity he helped create there continues to exist.  Phi Gamma Delta grew into a nation-wide collegiate organization and to this day the FIJIs honor Elliott as one of their Immortal Six founders.

Isaac Custer was practicing dentistry in Westerville, Ohio, near Columbus, when his famous cousin died on the Little Big Horn in 1876.  William Douglass, the private who shot Colonel Jones, returned to Steubenville and worked on the railroad, living across the street from the rail yard for the rest of his life.

Alex Sharon of Company B ran the Palace Hotel in San Francisco for years, while Hugh Porter of Company G made it out to Los Angeles and is buried in a National Cemetery there.

The most common post-war occupation of the soldiers was the same as it was before the war: farmer.  But an usually high number of company members went into the banking business.  Private William Vermillion of Company C became cashier of the First National Bank of Smithfield.  Thomas Hammond of Company B was cashier at the National Exchange Bank in Steubenville.  Company F’s Charles Gallagher was a cashier, too, at the Steubenville National Bank.

Private William J. Jones, also from Company F, became president of the Miners’ and Merchants’ Exchange Bank of Smithfield.  Mahlon Shaw served as vice-president of the Minerva Savings and Trust Co. in Carroll County after working 35 years in the oil industry.

But Samuel E. Campbell likely rose the highest  in the banking world.  He was elected Treasurer of the State of Ohio in 1896, serving until 1900.  Later, he would be a national bank examiner and also would be appointed assistant state treasurer.

Some of the 157th became physicians.  Benjamin Fisher, who had been promoted from Sergeant of Company D to Assistant Surgeon of the regiment at Camp Chase, went on to medical school after the war, graduating from Ohio Medical College.  Abram Blackburn, a sergeant of Company B, went to Cincinnati Medical College.  Both practiced in Steubenville for many years.  John Collins from Company F was a physician and surgeon in Toronto, O. after graduation from Columbus Medical College.

Not all the men stayed at home once they got back there after the war.  Almon White of Company D ended up in Montana, being buried in Custer Cemetery when he died fifty years later.  James Spencer of Company E migrated to Chanute, Kansas.  Samuel Sproat from Company I made it out to Garfield County, Oklahoma, dying there some sixty years after leaving the military.

Private Joshua Cole of Company G did return to his farm in Jefferson County and he stayed there, as did Private Elijah Lowery of Company E and 2nd Lieutenant James Milton Simeral of Company G.  Most of the men probably ended up the same way, farming their land, raising their families, and occasionally putting on their old uniforms to march in the parade on the Fourth of July.

Ten men of the 157th Ohio would be among those honored as having given their lives while in the service of their country.  None had been killed by enemy action: all died of disease.  Their names are listed in Appendix B.  The five who died at Fort Delaware are buried in the cemetery at Finn’s Point, on the New Jersey shore, alongside the Confederates they had guarded.

The overall rate of mortality - over three percent per year - reflects the unhealthy conditions at the prison, since the men started out in good health and it was summer.  That the prisoners had a much higher death rate can be easily understood.

Most of the men of the regiment who survived the war died later of the typical diseases of the time period: consumption, brain fever, dropsy, old age.  But a few died in ways that sound too gruesome for one to want to know the details.  For example, the official cause of death in 1911 for John Bair of Company C was accident by meat hook.

Bill Urquhart of Company D died of an acute attack of diarrhea.  The fate of his Confederate brother is not known.  William North of Company A died in a mill accident.  It’s not sure if it was a saw mill or a steel mill, but neither sounds particularly pleasant.  Company H’s John Naylor died of rabies in 1906.  Thomas Reed of Company G died of paralysis of the bowels.

David Call, of Company E, after cutting a corn off his toe, developed blood poisoning in 1893.  A practical man, he took a scythe to Pine Grove Cemetery in Ross Township, Jefferson County and cleared his own lot shortly before he died.

The fate of all the men who survived their brief military service with the 157th OVI will likely never be known.  Most of them are buried in their hometowns back in Carroll and Jefferson counties in Ohio, but the remains of others are in cemeteries across the country, from Michigan to Florida, from Montana to Virginia to California.  Some died in Soldiers’ Homes, while others moved to the land they fought against and are buried in southern cemeteries.  A few are in National Cemeteries; many are in unmarked graves.

On February 8, 1937, Joseph Chambers Bowers, aged 92, died at his home at 1335 Pennsylvania Avenue in Steubenville.  The cause was pneumonia.  His death brought to a close the E. M. Stanton Post of the Grand Army of the Republic, as Bowers was the last surviving member.  For several years, he had been the only Civil War veteran to ride in the Memorial Day procession down Main Street.  A member of Company E, Bowers was buried in Wintersville Cemetery.

But he was not the last living member of the regiment.  Out in Nebraska, James McGrew, former private of Company F, was not only still alive, he had gotten married in 1930 at the age of 80.  He would survive until December 28, 1944, to be buried in Greenwood Cemetery in the town of York.  His death was likely the final chapter of 157th regiment of Ohio infantry.  It had been over eighty years since its formation.

However, a few reminders of the 157th OVI’s brief life still stand today.  Fort Delaware is no longer a military establishment, but is a Delaware State Park.  It is open to the public via a short boat ride from either Delaware City, Delaware or Fort Mott, New Jersey.  The fort was modified in later years to hold huge disappearing cannon, but still retains much of its Civil War features.

Much of the remainder of the island, where the prisoners were held and the guard units were housed, has been given back to nature, and is home to variety of wildlife.  Perhaps it is fitting that a plot of ground once used to confine men now provides freedom for nature’s creatures.

Across from Fort Delaware, on the New Jersey side of the Delaware River, the cemetery at Finn’s Point also still exists.  The burial site for the 2,436 Confederates, 36 civilians and 135 Union guards, including the five from the 157th OVI, who died while at Fort Delaware, it is now a National Military Cemetery, and is maintained by the National Parks Service.

Individual graves are not marked, as their locations are unknown.  A monument listing the names of the Union soldiers has been erected in their honor.


Chapter 11


I cannot say as much for Prentiss

Some of the incidents recorded in the above accounts might lead one to the conclusion that the 157th Ohio it did not always perform its active duty in the most honorable manner possible.  However, it might be useful to consider the mindset of the men of the unit before passing final judgment.  Civil War prisoners, both North and South, uniformly agree that the militia or home guard troops, like the 157th, were more rude, ruthless and vengeful guards than were regular troops, especially those who had seen battle.

Several reasons for this behavior can be suggested.  Men coming straight from home would have heard and read stories about atrocities committed by the enemy, real or imaginary.  Thus they might be more hard-hearted than those who had seen suffering and death first hand on the battlefield.

Also, many members of the unit had relatives that had been killed, wounded or captured.  They might react vengefully on their first contact with the enemy.  For example, Colonel McCook’s father and one brother had already died in action; another brother would be mortally wounded while he was at Fort Delaware.

Likewise, Private Elijah Lowery may have known that his wife’s only brother was incarcerated at infamous Andersonville prison.  Eli Kirk might have heard that his brother had starved to death at the same place.

Finally, most of the aberrant behavior in the 157th OVI centers on Company C.  This was the company that short-handed at the beginning, and needed to fill its complement at Camp Chase.  They were the camp thieves at Relay House.  Private Douglass, the guard who shot Colonel Jones, was a member of Company C.  And Company C guarded the prisoners on the notorious Charleston voyage of the Immortal Six Hundred.

The men that made up the company appear to have been recruited from the working-class section of Steubenville.  They may have joined the National Guard unit as a means of additional income, and not just because of a patriotic attitude.

Looking at the ages of the members of Company C, they were younger than normal for even a militia unit.  More notably, the positions of leadership were filled with young men.  Of the sixteen officers and non-commissioned officers, only two were over 21 years of age.  Many were still teen-agers.  These boys with no combat experience may have been more idealistic and more influenced by propaganda, which certainly flourished during the war.

In addition, the person commanding them, James Prentis, was not a particularly good officer.  While the evaluation of his abilities made by prisoners can be viewed with skepticism, a more professional opinion can be found.  In 1862, when Prentis resigned as 2nd Lieutenant of the 1st OVI, his commanding officer, Colonel Edward Parrott, wrote in a letter approving the resignation:

      Lt. Prentiss is of no particular force and I have half a dozen of sergeants, any one of whom I can soon make a better officer. [70]

This is hardly a glowing recommendation from the senior officer of a combat regiment!

Henry Howe Cook, one of the prisoners, many years later wrote about the beginning of the voyage:

Here Gen. McCook left us in charge of an officer, whose name, as I now remember, was Prentiss.  McCook was a soldier and a gentleman, but I cannot say as much for Prentiss. [71]

It is possible that Ward is confusing McCook with Schoepf, since McCook was not a general, but he clearly correctly remembers Prentis after thirty plus years.

From these two accounts, it appears that other professional soldiers did not think highly of Prentis’ ability as an officer.

No excuses are being made for the way the 157th Regiment of Ohio Volunteer Infantry performed its duties.  Possible explanations of the underlying emotions of the men involved are presented to explain their actions in difficult situations.

And it could be that the actual conditions that the prisoners experienced might not have been quite as bad as they later recollected.  Several years after the war was over, the battle of the War Between the States continued in the printed word.  The Union ex-prisoners, lobbying for special pension benefits, hit the lecture circuit and started publishing lurid stories of their mistreatment in Southern prisons, with their main intent to further their own vested interests.  Many popular works on prison life were written at this time.

Their Confederate counterparts, striving for equal recognition, tried in the same manner to show that Elmira, Point Lookout, Johnson’s Island and Fort Delaware were just as bad, if not worse, than Andersonville, Florence, Belle Isle and Libby.  Some accounts of the Charleston voyages may fall into this category.  Exaggeration and embellishment were the weapons of choice in this paper battle.  The truth may have suffered as a result.

No conclusion was ever reached in this war of words, except that it is obvious that neither North nor South can take pride in their treatment of prisoners during the Civil War.


Appendix A


May 2, 1864            Men of the 39th & 88th Ohio National Guard enter service at Steubenville and Perrysville, Ohio, respectively

May 11, 1864          Men travel to Camp Chase, Ohio

May 15, 1864          157th Regiment of Ohio Volunteer Infantry mustered into service at Camp Chase, Ohio

May 18, 1864          Regiment departs for Baltimore, Maryland

May 20, 1864          Regiment arrives Baltimore, Maryland

May 22, 1864          Regiment arrives Camp Relay, Relay House, Maryland

June 5, 1864            Regiment departs Relay House, Maryland

June 6, 1864            Regiment arrives at Fort Delaware

June 26, 1864          First Charleston voyage begins

July 7, 1864             Shooting of Colonel Jones

July 30, 1864           First Charleston voyage completed

Aug 20, 1864           Second Charleston voyage begins

August 24, 1864      Regiment, minus Company C, returns to Camp Chase

September 2, 1864   Regiment, except Company C, mustered out of service

September 10, 1864 Company C mustered out of service at Camp Chase


Appendix B


The Men of the 157th Ohio

Who Died in Service

Name                            Co.   Date            Place                     Cause  

Edward C. Hamilton      B      July 14       Fort Delaware        Typhoid

James Walters               D     July 24       Fort Delaware        Unknown

John A. McCullough     E      Aug 28       Steubenville          Typhoid

William Negus               F      Aug 1         Fort Delaware        Smallpox

John M. Crawford         G     July 31       Fort Delaware        Measles

Stephen B. Hastings      G     Aug 23       Jefferson County   Measles

Thomas Megrail            G     Aug 10       Jefferson County   Measles

George W. Thompson   I       May 27       Relay House          Spotted Fever

John Bushong               I       Unknown   Carroll County      Unknown

John Speedy                  I       July 2         Fort Delaware        Unknown


Appendix C

Steubenville Herald Star, Friday, September 2, 1898, page 4

First Reunion

Of the 157th, O. V. I.

A Flattering Success

About Eight Hundred People Attended the Exercise

History of the157th Regiment, Read at the Reunion

At Reed’s Grove Near Unionport, Thursday – Another Reunion to be Held Next Year – Officers Elected – Yesterday’s Proceedings

The surviving members of the 157th O. V. I. met in reunion yesterday at Reed’s grove, near Unionport and spent a most delightful day in brotherly communion ‘neath the giant trees of the grand old forest.

But the members of the 157th were not the only persons to enjoy the meeting, and renew old acquaintances, for many old soldiers from other regiments united with their comrades making the event a success in every particular, and an occasion long to be remembered.  It was the first regular reunion of the 157th, although a preliminary meeting was held in Steubenville during the Centennial, last year, at which arrangements were formed resulting in the event Thursday.

At the reunion, yesterday, a regular organization was formed by the election of officers, and it was resolved to hold

Another Reunion Next Year

the time and place to be selected by a committee of five, which is to meet in Steubenville on November 1st for that purpose.

The Gathering

They Came From Carroll, Harrison, Tuscarawas and Other Counties

It was estimated that fully 800 people assembled at the grove yesterday to take part in and listen to the exercises.  They came from all the surrounding country, on the cars, in vehicles of every description, and on foot, and nearly every township in Jefferson county had its representatives.  Tuscarawas, Harrison and Carroll counties were also represented by survivors of the regiment and men who had parted thirty-four years ago Wednesday when the regiment was mustered out, met yesterday, grasped each other by the hand and recalled the many interesting incidents connected with military life at Fort Delaware and other places during the rebellion.  Carroll county, which had two companies in the 157th, was represented yesterday by Lieutenant Custer of Company I, a full cousin of Gen. Custer, and from Tuscarawas came Bertie Blinn and other members of the regiment who live in that section.  Harrison county was largely represented although Harrison had no company in the regiment, but many of her citizens marched under the banner of the 157th and were there to meet their comrades.  Steubenville, which gave Four Companies to the 157th was better represented than any other place in the district and sent a special train to Unionport and picked up many from Fernwood, Bloomfield, Skelley’s, Reed’s, Smithfield and other station along the route.

Among those on the special from this city a Herald Star reporter noticed Coroner John A. Fisher, R. G. Howerton, Jas. A. Frazie, David M. Coyle, Hugh Brown, B. N. Linduff and wife, D. W. Matlack, George E. Sharpe, R. E. Brown, Geo. L. Conn and daughter, Miss Fannie, Geo. Bair, John H. Roberts, Chas. Foreman, T. A. Hammond, Chas. Gallagher, John P. Means, Henry Dobbins, Mrs. Frank Murphy, Mrs. Wagner, Abbie Ault, Inez Matlack, John Yocum and wife, J. C. Ralston, J. C. Ault, G. B. Winters, M. Humbe, Andrew Burns, Ross Arban, Mayor Riley, W. H. Tonner, J. F. Dunbar, Joe Elliott, W. A. Grafton, J. O. Naylor, L. Brandenburg, Cort Hobson, Henry Zimmerman, D. W. Maxwell, Jas. Starr, John Welch and wife, Geo. W. McCook, Commissioner John Winters, Thos. Burke, John Beans, J. A. Mansfield, Geo. McCracken, A. M. Helms, R. J. Thompson, Wm. Helms, Lyman Priest, J. F. Sarrattt, D. Morrow, W. D, McLaughlen, W. V. B. Croskey, Jas. Horner, John Dobbs, Eli Ferrow, Jubal Clark, John P. Edgar, Sig. Laubbeim, O. P. Clifton, S. H. Bickerstaff, Harrison Tweed, Jas. Coulson, Dr. O. Kells, Geo. H. Owens, G. W. Alban, J. H. Lindsey, J. P. Donnin, Geo. A. Fisher, B. H. Maxwell, O. P. Dunbar.

Arriving at Unionport about 9:40, the Steubenville train was met by a large concourse of citizens with the Unionport Band.  A procession was formed and headed by the committed of arrangement and band, the march to the grove was taken up.  The road led up to a considerable hill and when the veterans and other visitors reached the grove they were glad to take advantage of the many admirable arrangement for their comfort under the beautiful trees.

Reunion Exercises

Address of Welcome and Response

– Short Speeches

The platforms for the speakers and band were neatly decorated with the National colors and flags, and faced a seating capacity for 500 or 600 people.  The meeting was called to order by Chairman B. N. Linduff, of Steubenville, and Rev. Dr. Dodd, of Unionport, led in prayer.

After music by the band, the chairman introduced Isaac N. Vorhes, Esq., of Unionport, who delivered

The Address Of Welcome.

Mr Vorhes said the people of his little town extended a hearty welcome not only to the survivors of the 157th but to all who had come with them to enjoy the reunion.  These reunions, he said, were pleasant and profitable gatherings, and this one being a basket picnic, as ???????????????? always welcome.

Speaking of reunions Mr. Vorhes said if a cause is just and has been successful there is a desire on the part of the promoters of that cause to meet in reunion.  To renew boon companionships, to talk over achievements of the past.  If by any miracle the twelve Disciples were to appear again they would no doubt hold a reunion in Jerusalem tomorrow.  Because they could talk over their works and achievements.  One, however, would be absent: Judas, the betrayer, would not be there.

If Washington and the great leaders of his time were alive they would be holding reunions, telling and recalling incident of the past, but one would be absent.  There would be no place at the board for Benedict Arnold.  Judas and Arnold were the greatest traitors of their time.

The speaker briefly reviewed the 157th and assured each and every member of the organization and their friends present they were ???? welcome.

Judge Mansfield, of this city, responded to the welcome on behalf of the committee.

Chairman Linduff read a telegram from comrade Robt. McGowan, regretting his inability to be present and wishing the boys plenty of fun and plenty to eat on the occasion.

John P. Means, Esq., of Steubenville, was next introduced.  Mr. Means read a history of the 157th written by Comrade Jas. M. Russell, of Barnesville, which will be found in full in these columns.

George Gault, Esq., read a regimental poem which brought down the house.  It dealt with local regimental matters, understood better by the soldiers, and made a hit.  We regret that owing to its length, lack of space will not permit us to print the poem.

After the reading of the poem, Alonzo Hayne, Esq., of Adena, read a letter of D. W. McMillen, of Iowa, a member of the 157th, in which comrade McMillen related anecdotes of Capts. Walden and Prentiss, Lieuts. Coulter and Daton and others, and closed by wishing for the boys a happy reunion.

Lieutenant Custer, of Carroll county, a cousin of Gen. Custer, was then introduced and made a brief address.

After the above portion of the program had been rendered, interspersed with music by the band, a recess for two hour was taken for dinner.

After dinner, and after the business meeting had adjourned, the crowd again assembled in front of the platform and were addressed by Col. John Pearce of Harrison County.  Col. Pearce delivered a brief but eloquent address in which he said he feared that some of the people were forgetting their duty to the soldier; forgetting the gratitude they owed to the men who fought for the preservation of the country, growing careless of the interest of the old soldier who gave up so much that the Union might be saved and perpetuated.  He said that the soldier deserved the thanks of the nation for his great, patriotic service and that we should not forget the past nor the men who fought and died for us all.  The country owes them a debt that it can never repay, and although the government gives them pensions and allows their widows and children pension, it can never repay the heart-broken mother and wife for the sufferings caused by the deaths of loved ones who gave up their lives in defense of their country, in defense of our homes.

Judge Pearce urged the people to keep the soldier and his work fresh in their minds, never forgetting their gallant deeds.

Judge Pearce paid a glowing tribute to the volunteer soldier, and said he was the best soldier on earth.

At the close of Judge Pearce’s address, J. M. Simeral, Esq., was called upon and made a brief but stirring speech which was received with great applause.

History of the 157th Regiment,

Read at the Reunion

The following brief history of the 157th, written by James M. Russell was read by John P. Means, Esq. of this city.

The regiment was mustered in U. S. service May 15, 1864 at Camp Chase, Ohio by H. Douglas, Captain 15th Infantry, U. S. Army.  It was composed of the 39th Battalion O. N. G. from Jefferson County, and the 88th Battalion O. N. G. from Carroll County.  On the 17th of May the regiment was ordered to report to General Wallace at Baltimore, were it proceeded, at once, leaving Columbus, O. at 3 pm by the then Steubenville & Indiana Railway, arriving at Steubenville May 18th at 8 am where it took passage on the Cleveland & Pittsburgh railway.  Some 200 or 300 of the troops in changing cars at Steubenville, and in the various restaurants and eating houses, filling the inner man being left behind until the 12 o’clock, noon, train.  This train arriving at Pittsburgh at 4 pm, where all the 157th Ohio took passage on the Pennsylvania railway at 5 pm.  Opposite the city of Harrisburg, Pa., we took the train on the Northern Central railway May 19th, at 12 o’clock noon, arriving at Baltimore same date at 9 pm, suppering at the Union Relief, Baltimore, sleeping on the soft side of the stone floor at the depot.  May 20th, we breakfasted and dinnered at the Union Relief.  At 3 pm, we marched out of Baltimore to Relay House, Maryland, where we arrived at 5 pm, a distance of nine (9) miles.  Our tents not having arrived, the men slept on the ground, with the canopy of heaven for a covering.  While at Camp Relay, 157th was brigaded with the 144th, 149th and 159th Ohio regiments.  First Separate Brigade, General E. B. Tyler, brigade commander, Eighth Army Corps, General Lew Wallace, corps commander.  Our routine at Camp Relay being camp guard duty and drilling, thus perfecting our regiment, if needs be, with meeting and combating with trained soldiery, remaining until June 5th, when under marching orders for Fort Delaware, Del. and with three (3) days rations, after being reviewed and addressed by General E. B. Tyler, after which, at noon, 12 o’clock, we marched to the Relay Station, where we embarked on the Chesapeake & Ohio railway 12:30 pm train, arriving at Baltimore at 1:00 pm where we changed cars to that of the Philadelphia, Wilmington & Baltimore railway, leaving Baltimore same date at 3 pm, arriving at New Castle, Delaware June 6th. at 7 am. At noon, 12 o’clock, the 157th Ohio took passage on the steamer Osceola for Fort Delaware, where we relieved the 5th Regiment Maryland Infantry, which regiment went to the front to Grant’s army.  The forces at Fort Delaware consisting of Battery A (Schaffer’s), organized in Philadelphia in August, 1861.  Captain Frank Schaffer, in 1864. Captain Stam Mlotkouski commanded the above battery, and Battery G (Young’s) John Jay Young.  This battery, organized August 21, 1862 being recruited in Allegheny county, Pennsylvania, and Battery H Delaware Volunteers, Lieut. Campbell in command of this battery. This battery was composed of what we termed Galvanized Rebels, being former rebels who had left the prison pen, and taken the oath of allegiance to our government.  The above and the addition of the 157th Ohio being the forces at Fort Delaware, where we performed guard duty over 18,000 rebels, prisoners of war.  The commander at Fort Delaware was General Albin Schoepf, who was commissioned Brigadier General in 1861.  General Schoepf died at Hyattsville, Maryland May 10, 1886.  Our regiment continuing at Fort Delaware until August 25th, when at the expiration of its term of service, excepting Company C, which was on detached duty, having taken six hundred (600) rebel prisoners to Charleston, South Carolina, August 20th, were ordered to Camp Chase, O., August 25th.  157th Ohio formed on the parade ground at Fort Delaware, at 8:30 a. m. and marched to the landing, where at 9 a.m. they embarked on the steamer Major Reybold for Philadelphia.  The 6th Mass Regiment arriving August 23d, to relieve the 157th Ohio.  We arrived at Philadelphia, August 25, at 12:30 p.m., where we dinnered at the Cooper Volunteer Eating Building.  At 6:30 p.m., we took passage on the Pennsylvania Railway, for Pittsburgh, Pa., where we arrived at 7 a.m., August 27th, breakfasting at the Pittsburgh Subsistence Committee.  135th Ohio, also at Pittsburgh.  Left Pittsburgh on the Cleveland & Pittsburgh Railway at 8 a.m., arriving at Rochester, Pa. at 10 a.m. where we were delayed until 5 p.m. by a damaged railway bridge, arriving at Steubenville, Ohio, at 11 p.m.  In this ????????????? Steubenville, near the C & P railway depot.  After meeting our near and dear friends and partaking of refreshments at 1 a.m., 28 of August, embarked on the Steubenville & Indiana Railway for Columbus, Ohio.  August 28th, arrived at Newark, Ohio at 9 a.m. and transferred at the wrecked bridge, where we again boarded our other train, arriving at Columbus, Ohio, at 9 p.m.: we slept on our train over night.  Would here say in war times we did not have the beautiful and commodious vestibule and chair and dining and palace cars of today.  Our cars then on the Pennsylvania railway, now one of the best equipped and best of railways.  Our cars Philadelphia to Pittsburgh being box and stock cars which coal and geese had been shipped to Philadelphia.  The straw on the cars that had geese not having been removed.  The writer riding in one of the cars that had been used in shipping geese.  August 29th marched to Camp Chase, where we arrived at noon, 12 o’clock, where we pitched tents and encamped.  August 30th, companies and regiments formed in line, turning over our arms, knapsacks, haversacks, etc.  Remained in Camp Chase until September 5th when we went to Columbus, Ohio where we received our discharges and were paid off.  Our regiment, 157th Ohio, was the boy regiment of the State of Ohio, having in a total membership of 850, of this number, 142 being in their 18th and under 18 years of age.  In one Company, C, of a membership of 94 had 44 in their 18th year and under 18 years of age, nearly fifty (50) per cent 18 and under 18 years of age in this one company, making our regiment one composed of more mere boys than any regiment from the state; the oldest commissioned officer being Capt. Robert Boals, Co. D, aged 50 years.  The oldest soldier in the regiment being Thomas Wright of Co. G, 61 years of age.  The three (3) youngest men in the regiment being Almeran Matlack and Joseph Port, of Co. G, and Wm. Hardesty, of Co. K, these 3 comrades being but 16 years of age.

James M. Russell

Late Co. H, 157th Ohio

Barnesville, Ohio

After the reading, Mr. Means supplemented by saying that some people were probably of the opinion that Col. McCook went to Washington to have Secretary Stanton put the 157th in a safe place, so they would not get hurt.  But such was not the case.  A rebel regiment had been captured and the Fifth Maryland had been placed over it as a guard.  The Fifth was a paroled regiment and there were great objections to it doing guard duty.  The matter was brought to Stanton’s notice, and meeting Col. McCook he said I will get that matter off my mind by sending your regiment to Fort Delaware for guard duty.  Had be been sent to the front I suppose we would have fought as well as the rest of them.


Primary Sources


Eames, William Mark, Correspondence, Eames Collection, Tennessee State Library and Archives.

Glover, George and Jefferson, Correspondence, Jefferson Country Chapter, Ohio Genealogy Society.

McMichael, J. R., Diary of Captain J. R. McMichael, Prisoner of War 1864-1865, transcript in Fort Delaware Society files.

Military Service and Pension Records of Joshua W. Cole, National Archives.

Military Service and Pension Records of William G. Douglass, National Archives.

Military Service and Pension Records of John H. Harris, National Archives.

Military Service and Pension Records of Elijah Lowery, National Archives.

Military Service Records of James H. Prentis, National Archives.

Thompson, John & I. W., Correspondence, Website <>.


Blue, John Monroe

                Hanging Rock Rebel: Lt. John Blue’s War in West Virginia & the Shenandoah Valley. Shippenberg: Burd Street Press. 1994.

Cook, Henry Howe, ‘The Story of the 600,’ Confederate Veteran, March 1897, page 117.

Coulter, David Burton, ‘A Sketch of David Burton Coulter’s Life Written March 10th, 1914 by him,’ in Maude Graves Coulter’s Genealogy of John M. Coulter of Southwest Arkansas. 1951.

Daton, J. Fletcher, published letter, Steubenville Herald, June 22, 1864.

Dunkle, John J., Prison Life During the Rebellion. Singer’s Glen: Privately printed. 1869.

"First Reunion of the 157th O.V. I." Steubenville Herald Star. 2 September 1898: 4.

Fulkerson, Abram, ‘The Prison Experience of a Confederate Soldier,’ Southern Historical Society Papers, Vol. XXI (1893) pages 127-146.

Handerson, Henry E., Yankee in Gray: The Civil War Memoirs of Henry E. Handerson With a Selection of his Wartime Letters. Press of Western Reserve University. 1962.

Handy, Isaac W. K., United States Bonds; or Duress by Federal Authority: a Journal of Current Events During an Imprisonment of Fifteen Months at Fort Delaware. Baltimore: Turnbull Brothers. 1874.

Howard, McHenry, Recollections of a Maryland Confederate Soldier and Staff Officer under Johnston, Jackson and Lee. Dayton: Morningside Bookshop. 1975.

Morgan, W. H., Personal Reminiscences of the War of 1861-5. Lynchburg: J. P. Bell Company. 1911.

Murray, Major J. Ogden, The Immortal Six Hundred, A Story of Cruelty to Confederate Prisoners of War. Roanoke. 1911.

Nelson, George W., ‘Rev. George W. Nelson’s Narrative’, Southern Historical Society Papers, Vol. I (1876) page 243.

Rosenburg, R. B, For the Sake of My Country: The Diary of Col. W. W. Ward, 9th Tennessee Cavalry, Morgan’s Brigade, C. S. A. Murfreesboro: Southern Heritage Press. 1992.

Sharon, Alexander S., published letter, Steubenville Herald, June 22, 1864.

Shotwell, Randolph A., The Papers of Randolph A. Shotwell. North Carolina Historical Commission. 1929.

Simmons, R. Hugh, ‘A Confederate Prisoner’s Experience in the New Barracks,’ Fort Delaware Notes, February 2002.

Swann, John S., Elizabeth Cometti, ed., ‘Prison Life At Fort Delaware,’ West Virginia History, Vol. 2, No. 2-3.

The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Washington. 1880.

"Wedding Bells For Groom, 80; Bride, 70." The Lincoln Star. 18 Jul. 1930: 6.

Wilson, W. Emerson, A Fort Delaware Journal, the Diary of a Yankee Private, A. J. Hamilton 1862-65. Wilmington: Fort Delaware Society. 1981.

Secondary Sources

Bogardus, Stephen H, Jr., letter published in the Poughkeepsie Eagle dated Sept. 24, 1863.

Caldwell, J. A., History of Belmont and Jefferson Counties, Ohio. Wheeling: Historical Publishing Co.  1900.

Cole, Richard H., Jr., ‘100-Day Wonders at Fort Delaware: A History of the 157th Ohio.’ Fort Delaware Notes, Vol. XLII, February 1992.

Downer, Edward T., ‘Ohio Troops in the Field,’ Civil War History, 3, 3 (1957) pages 253-7.

Doyle, Joseph B., 20th Century History of Steubenville and Jefferson County, Ohio and Representative Citizens. Chicago: Richmond-Arnold Publishing Co. 1910.

Fetzer & Mowday, Unlikely Allies: Fort Delaware Prison Community in the Civil War. Stackpole Books, 2000.

Fort Delaware Society, Fort Delaware Notes, Vols. I – LIII.

Joslyn, Mauriel, Immortal Captives: The Story of 600 Confederate Officers and the United States Prisoner of War Policy. Shippensburg: White Mane. 1996.

Keen, Nancy Travis, Confederate Prisoners of War at Fort Delaware, Fort Delaware Society, 1968.

Leeke, Jim, A Hundred Days to Richmond: Ohio’s Hundred Days Men in the Civil War. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. 1999.

Official Roster of the Soldiers of the State of Ohio in the War of the Rebellion 1861-1866. Volume VII, 110th-140th Regiment Infantry. Cincinnati: Ohio Valley Press. 1888.

Official Roster of the Soldiers of the State of Ohio in the War of the Rebellion 1861-1866. Volume VIII, 141st-184th Regiment Infantry. Cincinnati: Ohio Valley Press. 1889.

Phi Gamma Delta: The First Seventy Five Years. 2002.

Richardson, John M., 157th. Ohio Volunteer Infantry (100 Day Volunteers). unpublished, copy in Fort Delaware Society files.

Rodabaugh, James A., ‘The Fighting McCooks,’ Civil War History, 3, 3. 1957.

Speer, Lonnie R., Portal of Hell: Military Prisons of the Civil War. Mechanicsburg, Stackpole Books. 1997.

Temple, Brian, The Union Prison at Fort Delaware: A Perfect Hell on Earth. Jefferson, NC, McFarland & Co. 2003.

Website: Ancestors of Mariah Hope Gilman, <


Wilson, W. Emerson, Fort Delaware in the Civil War.  Wilmington: Fort Delaware Society.  No date.

Wilson, W. Emerson, Fort Delaware. Newark: University of Delaware Press.  1957.

Wilson, W. Emerson, Jeff Thompson in Fort Delaware. Wilmington: Fort Delaware Society. 1972.


[1] The 158th OVI did not complete its organization

[2] The letter J was not used because of it is easily confused with the letter I, especially when hand-written.

[3] Rosenburg, R. B, For the Sake of My Country: The Diary of Col. W. W. Ward, 9th Tennessee Cavalry, Morgan’s Brigade, C. S. A., Murfreesboro: Southern Heritage Press. 1992, page 51

[4] William Mark Eames, letter to wife dated May 16, 1864

[5] The commanding officer of the other unit, Major James B. Templeton of the 88th ONG, did not want to leave his men, so he accepted a demotion to become First Lieutenant of Company F.

[6] William Mark Eames, letter to wife and family dated May 23, 1864

[7] William Mark Eames, letter to wife dated June 2, 1864

[8] Jefferson Glover, letter to sisters dated May 28, 1864

[9] William Mark Eames, letter to wife dated May 31, 1864

[10] <>

[11] Official Records, II, Vol. 7, page 590

[12] ibid

[13] David Tod, (1805-1868) had left office three months before, having served since 1862.  He was in the process of being offered the position of Secretary of the Treasury by President Lincoln, but he ultimately declined.

[14] Steubenville Herald Star, Friday, September 2, 1898, page 4.

[15] W. W. Ward, For the Sake of My Country, pages 50-51

[16] W. Emerson Wilson, A Fort Delaware Journal: The Diary of a Yankee Private, A. J. Hamilton, 1862-65, page 54

[17] ibid

[18] James H. Franklin, quoted in Simmons’s ‘A Confederate Prisoner’s Experience in the New Barracks,’ Fort Delaware Notes, Feb. 2002, pages 2-3

[19] Official Records, II, Vol. 7, page 422

[20] Jefferson Glover, letter to sister dated July 11, 1864

[21] William Mark Eames, letter to wife dated July 15, 1864

[22] William Mark Eames, letter to wife dated June 26, 1864

[23] W. Emerson Wilson, General M. Jeff Thompson in Fort Delaware, page 11

[24] Official Records, II, Vol. 7, page 422

[25] His last name is spelled Douglas in some official records, but the private himself spelled it as Douglass in the three known specimens of his signature

[26] Official Records, II, Vol. 7, page 453

[27] Official Records, II, Vol. 7, page 453

[28] Official Records, II, Vol. 170, page 1256

[29] Official Records, II, Vol. 7, page 454

[30] Prison Adjutant George W. Ahl

[31] Howard, McHenry, Recollections of a Maryland Confederate Soldier and Staff Officer, page 318

[32] Isaac W. K. Handy, United States Bonds, page 474

[33] Nelson, George W., ‘Rev. Geo. W. Nelson’s Narrative,’

Southern Historical Society Papers, Vol. 1 (1876) page 248

[34] William Mark Eames, letter to son dated July 10, 1864

[35] Swann, John S. ‘Prison Life At Fort Delaware,’ (Elizabeth Cometti, ed.) West Virginia History, 2, 2

[36] William Mark Eames, letter to wife dated July 15, 1864

[37] Handy, ibid

[38] Coulter, David Burton, ‘A Sketch of David Burton Coulter’s Life Written March 10th , 1914 by him,’ in Maude Graves Coulter’s Genealogy of John M. Coulter of Southwest Arkansas

[39] Lonnie Speer, Portals to Hell, page 145

[40] Official Records, II, Vol. 7, page 454

[41] ibid

[42] ibid

[43] Wilson, Fort Delaware Journal, page 54

[44] Irwin Thompson, letter dated June 14, 1864

[45] Diary of Captain J. R. McMichael, page 2

[46] ibid

[47] Wilson, Fort Delaware Journal, page 57

[48] Fulkerson, Abram, ‘The Prison Experiences of a Confederate Soldier,’ Southern Historical Society Papers, XXI (1894), page 136

[49] Nelson, page 24

[50] Contrary to a recently published account of the journey in Joslyn’s Immortal Captives, the 110th Ohio was not part of the guard force, and, in fact, was never at Fort Delaware.

[51] While his name often appears as Prentiss, he signed his name as Prentis.

[52] Wilson, Fort Delaware Journal, page 58

[53] McMichael, page 3

[54] J. Ogden Murray, The Immortal Six Hundred, page 250

[55] ibid

[56] Wilson, Fort Delaware Journal, page 59

[57] Murray, page 250

[58] Wilson, Fort Delaware Journal, page 59

[59] Murray, page 251

[60] Wilson, Fort Delaware Journal, page 59

[61] Murray, page 251

[62] Murray, page 251

[63] Murray, page 252

[64] McMichael, page 5

[65] ibid

[66] Murray, op cit, pages 73-4

[67] Fuzzlebug, Fritz, Prison Life During the Rebellion, page 19

[68] Wilson, A Fort Delaware Journal, page 59

[69] Handerson, Henry E., Yankee in Gray, Press of Western Reserve U., 1962, page 75

[70] Document in the Military Service record of James H. Prentis

[71] Cook, Henry Howe, ‘The Story of the 600,’ Confederate Veteran, Mar 1897, page 117

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