Infantry Units: 17th Ohio Volunteer Infantry
The biographical sketches here show only those members of the unit who wrote letters to their local newspapers. Information may be drawn from the unit roster, newspaper obituaries, or other biographical sources.
Company B, 17th OVI
James W. Stinchcomb was born in February 1822 in Thorn Twp., Perry Co., Ohio to George and Ann (Wiseman) Stinchcomb. He served two terms as county prosecutor of Fairfield Co., residing in Lancaster. He recruited the second company to leave Fairfield County, Co. B, 17th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, enlisting on April 22, 1861. He was elected Captain and mustered into service April 27, 1861, serving with the regiment through the summer campaign in western Virginia before returning home and mustering out August 15, 1861 at Camp Goddard, Zanesville, Ohio. He recruited a new company for the 17th Ohio Volunteer Infantry and was recommissioned Captain on September 11, 1861. He took part in the fight at Wild Cat, Kentucky and led his company of 70 men into the Confederate lines at Corinth, Mississippi in May 1862, holding an exposed position for over two hours before withdrawing. Shortly thereafter, he was detached to serve on the brigade staff. At the Battle of Stones River, he was slightly wounded in his side on January 2, 1863 while leading a party of skirmishers on a reconnaissance to probe the Confederate position. He was wounded again on January 10, 1863 near Murfreesboro, Tennessee. He was court martialed on March 30, 1863 for arresting a non-commissioned officer without cause, but was found innocent of the charge. He continued to serve on the brigade staff until his resignation on May 2, 1864. The letter cited here was widely republished in Republican newspapers throughout Ohio.
Following the war, James moved to Juniata, Adams Co., Nebraska where he lived the rest of his life. He was married twice; first to Sophronia Louisa Shaw on August 10, 1847 to which five children were born, and secondly to Amanda McKee on April 25, 1875 in Morrow Co., Ohio to which one son was born. He died December 18, 1878 in Juniata and is buried at Kenesaw Cemetery there.
His obituary from the Juniata Herald describes an active life:
"The dreaded but expected messenger came on Wednesday-afternoon,
Dec. 18, 1878, and from the mortal tenement bore away the immortal spirit of
Major J. W. Stinchcomb. For several months, his friends had marked the serious
impairment of his health; but not until recently would the Major acknowledge that
the symptoms were necessarily alarming; and even to the last he fought bravely
the terrible and universal enemy before whose power all shall sooner or later
lay down their lives.
Major Stinchcomb was born in the county of Perry, Ohio, in the month of February, 1822, and was therefore in the 57th year of his age. For some years he practiced law in Lancaster, Ohio. Hearing the call "To arms!" he enlisted in the 17th Ohio regiment as a private, but soon, by his bravery and devotion to his country's service, earned, and was promoted to the position of Major. He served upwards of three years in the army, in Gen. Steadman's division, and was faithful and efficient in the discharge of his duty as a soldier.
Returning from the field of battle to his native state, rejoicing in the assured integrity and perpetuity of the grand old Union that he was ready to die for, he entered the editorial arena, and edited, for a couple of years, a paper at Athens, Ohio. Subsequently, he removed to Nebraska, settling at Plattsmouth, where he resumed his practice in the legal profession, which became quite extensive; and he numbered among his clients such men as Mr. Todd, the late greenback candidate for governor. From the law he returned to journalism, accepting a position on the Lincoln State Journal, which he filled with marked ability. He finally retired from this pursuit and entered upon farm life at Kennesaw. Still, his pen refused to be quiet, and his contributions frequently found their way into the public journals, our own among them. His articles were always gladly received, and read with avidity; for the Major held a trenchant, instructive pen, and he never wrote without saying something. In the last county seat contest he spent several days at Juniata, contributing to these columns a series of articles full of good sense and sound logic, and assuming certain legal positions from which the rivals of Juniata in vain sought to dislodge him. These articles doubtless had an appreciable effect upon the result of that memorable contest.
Major Stinchcomb was emphatically a man of opinions. These were not hastily and inconsiderably formed; but arrived at as the result of studious examination and intelligent analysis, they were fixed, and he was not to be swerved from them, while at all times he had the courage to assert, and the ability to defend them. He possessed a large fund of information, on a wide variety of topics, and could therefore conversationally interest the man of broadest culture, while without effort he could adapt himself to the capacity of prattling infancy.
Politically, Major Stinchcomb had in early life imbibed the strong-meat principles of Jeffersonian and Jacksonian democracy, and for years he acted with the democratic party. The war against and for the Union effected a change in his associations and his sympathies, and he became a republican, with liberal tendencies, supporting Horace Greeley for the presidency, in 1872. He had full faith in the patriotism and political integrity of President Hayes, and felt assured that the events of the near future would vindicate the wisdom of the president's policy.
But he is gone. All will miss him--greatly and sorrowfully miss him. All will draw the mantle of charity over his foibles and his errors--for without these he was not. As his end drew near, his sufferings were great, caused by the lungs difficulty that ate away his life. Yet, as an attendant assures us, his end was peaceful, and his mind unclouded to the last. He leaves a wife and five children, a daughter and four sons, the youngest a mere babe. The funeral services occurred on Friday, and the remains were followed to their last resting place, on the family homestead, by a large procession of neighbors and friends. The bereaved ones have the unstinted sympathy and condolences of a wide circle of acquaintances.
On the second day of Chickamauga, after the disastrous rout and disorganization of most of the Federal army, many of the Perry and Fairfield boys, members of the 17th and 31st Ohio, kept together, as well as they could, and when orders were given by General Thomas, commander of the army of the Cumberland, to which they belonged, to form a second line of battle, and throw up temporary breast-works, they joined heartily in the movement. Captain J. W. Stinchcomb, born and brought up in Thorn township, Perry County, but in command of a Fairfield County company, was very active and conspicuous in the formation of this famous second line of battle. So much so, in fact, that he is mentioned by General Thomas in the official report of the battle. His loud hoarse voice was heard above the din, rallying the scattered soldiers, and his stalwart form almost tottered beneath an incredible load of rails. A private soldier of the 31st Ohio facetiously remarked that he "never had the most distant idea how many rails were a load for a man, until he saw 'Jim' Stinchcomb in the business at Chickamauga."
Paulding Independent- 1/17/1863
Toledo Blade- 2/10/1863
Wyandot Pioneer- February 13, 1863 pg. 1
Hancock Jeffersonian- June 3, 1864