Center for Archival Collections
|Reference Services | Manuscripts by Subject | CAC Homepage|
Henry S. Chapin Correspondence - MMS 1585
Henry S. Chapin wrote the following letters to the editor of the Perrysburg Journal while serving with Company F, 144th Ohio Volunteer Infantry.
Annapolis Junction, Md.
June 3 [30 is printed], 1864
The Wood County Boys.
Since my last letter nothing new has occurred relative to the situation or the duties required of Company F- which is still acting as Provost Guard here. The health of the company continues good- we have now no men in the hospital and but very few cases of slight indisposition..
The companies of Captain Hathaway and Captain Kitchen are yet at Fort Dix, Relay House. Young Klopfenstein-the amputation of whose finger I previously noticed--is doing well..
The companies of Captain McKee and Captain Black are doing guard duty at Camp Parole, two miles west of the city of Annapolis. Each of the companies has two men in the hospital, viz.: Samuel Holder and Caleb Holder of the former and Ben W. Wood and henry Ashley of the latter company. None of them, however, were dangerously ill. But few other cases of indisposition are to be found in the companies..
Captain Smith's company is at Wilmington, Delaware or at Fort Delaware near that city--at least, such is the information I have received concerning it. I have heretofore reported this company as being from Pemberville-which was an error. In the old 64th Battalion, Captain Smith commanded the company from Freedom and W ebster townships, but at Camp Chase this company was broken up and Captain Smith is now in command of the company from Bloom and Perry townships.
Visit to Annapolis.
On Friday last, Sergeants Averill and Bates and the subscriber obtained permission to visit the ancient little city of Annapolis-20 miles distant. We left here at 8 o'clock in the morning, and about 9 arrived at Camp Parole, two miles west of the city, where we had the pleasure of meeting Captain McKee, Captain Black, and Lieutenant Kimberlin and numerous old acquaintances in the Tontogany and Gilead companies- all of whom seemed very well pleased with their situation. They have for quarters good commodious barracks- and are on duty as guards generally every second or third day or night. During the hour which we remained here we came to the conclusion that for business and arrangement, Camp Parole far surpassed all the military camps we had ever seen..
From camp we walked to the city-which, by the way we found to bear little resemblance to our cities of the West. The "center" of the city appears to be the State House, and from this point the streets seem to diverge in all directions--making "city blocks" of all shapes and sizes. The streets are narrow, unpaved and apparently unworked but they are remarkably free from rubbish and some of them are so well shaded that the branches of the trees unite overhead, forming a single mass of foliage. Ascending the steeple of the State House, we obtained a view of the city and adjoining country, the bay with its shipping and to the distant eastern shore, which was to say the least, beautiful and grand. For a few moments we entered the Hall of Representatives where Convention is now in session for the purpose of forming a new Constitution for this State, the foundation of which it is believed will be Liberty! We afterward entered the Senate Chamber--the room wherein I believe Washington resigned to Congress his commission as Commander-in-Chief of the United States army. On the northern wall is a large oil painting, 10 or 12 feet in length and 6 or 8 feet in width representing the scene--the room represented in the painting being an exact imitation of the one wherein the picture is suspended..
By this time hunger began to make demonstrations and we left the State House in search of rations. A short walk took us to the "American House," a very ancient looking but substantial building, which we were told was erected about 90 years since by the British, and was once used as the Headquarters of General Washington. Here we ordered dinner! Reader, were you ever a "One Hundred Days' man," and did you after taking in your first month's army rations seat yourself at a table where victuals were served up in the "highest style of art?" If not, you can form no idea of the fierce "Battle of the Knife and Fork," which raged for about three-quarters of an hour after our forces were brought into position. To attempt a detailed description would be the heighth of folly-suffice to say that after a hotly contested and sanguinary conflict, we were enabled to report the following highly important results: Three huge beefsteaks completely outgeneraled; a loaf of bread, plate of butter, and tow dishes of potatoes, utterly annihilated; nothing of onions, radishes, & c., which were "sandwiched without mercy," between the more important articles. And just as we were about withdrawing from the field, and intelligent contraband entered with three large plates of strawberries, thus painfully reminding us that although we were nearly exhausted, there was yet a foe to conquer! The defiant look of the luscious fruit together with the thought that if not speedily put out of the way, it might strengthen the enemy, rallied our shattered energies and after a brief conflict is was no more! Soon afterward by skillful maneuvering, we succeeded in retiring from the field, with very little disorder-considering the circumstances..
During the afternoon we visited the U.S. Naval Academy grounds, where in addition to the building formerly used in connection with the Academy have been erected extensive and commodious hospitals. Near the northeast corner of the grounds is Fort Severn, a round stone structure said to be of great strength..
We left Annapolis about 4 P.M. and arrived her at 5 o'clock- having experienced what was to us one of the "eventful days of the campaign/" In this connection it is proper to state that our trio are under obligations to Conductor Hammond of the Annapolis and Elk Ridge Railroad for favors and courtesies which soldiers well know how to appreciate. As one efficient, accomplished, and obliging officer, "long may he wave!" We are also indebted to Sergeant Winters of the Annapolis Patrol Guard for favors while in the city.
"Every Man His Own Washwoman".
It is an old saying that every man is an architect of his own fortune but it was only very recently that I became convinced of the fact that every man must be his own washwoman. Such, however, appeared to be the case in Company F last week. I tried it-took my things, a piece of soap; proceeded to the creek-about a half-mile distant-took a position on a log and went to work. I don't pretend to say how long I was engaged at my little washing but I might have been rubbing away yet, if a Good Samaritan who had sojered before, had not helped me out. When I returned to camp, hung out my indifferently washed duds, and contemplated the prospects of their being blown down in the dirt. I began, for the first time, to comprehend and sympathize with the vexation which I have seen ladies manifest under similar circumstances. At the time had any unlucky wind caused mishap to my clothes line, the circumstances would doubtless have enabled me to read him a caudle lecture and send him bald headed to his tent in the most approved manner.
Some of the boys announce with glee that they have found a washwoman- and if such is the case a large portion of the company will retire from business.
A Little Breeze.
A few days since, a slight breeze was created between the hospital authorities here and Provost Marshal Cook on account of the arrest of a hospital attendant for insulting language to the Provost Guard while on duty. Without further particularizing or reflecting upon any one, it is only necessary to add that on reference of the matter to General Tyler, the Provost Marshal was fully sustained.
An item of which the officers and some of this company feel a little proud and which is but proper that their friends at home should know is the fact that the citizens of this place and vicinity state that at no time since the commencement of the war has there been a company stationed here the members of which conducted themselves in so peaceable and gentlemanly a manner, and created so little disturbance as have the members of Company F. We do not say this in any spirit of exultation over the remaining companies from Wood County, nor even over any of Ohio's National Guard-composed as it is almost exclusively, of those who are law abiding citizens at home, it may well be expected that they will continue to be respecters of law wherever law calls them.
Joy in the House of S - - T..
A couple of days since I was saluted by one of the jovial members of Company F with "ain't I a lucky fellow?" On being informed that I couldn't see anything of that kind about him, he proceeded to tell me that on the day this company left Perrysburg his family consisted of four persons, including himself, but that his family now consists of four persons without him! Considering his assertion of aqua y appearance, I made no further inquiries, yet perhaps 'twas true, and can be accounted for on scientific principles- but as I have never "figgered" in that kind of "sum" I leave its further consideration and solution for persons more familiar with the intricate problems of simple addition!
If He Was A Man.
In the Independent of May 27th, I see that reference is made to the absence from Perrysburg of John Himmelman, with his company. Yes, John is here, and a few days since I heard a member of this company has left a large and helpless family in Perrysburg, say, if Higgins was a man he would be here too. Is that the reason "Why We Didn't Go to War" in a nutshell?
In the same paper we notice an item concerning the catching of white bass, wherein the Independent editor tells how "he worked at the oars" and "fully realized what it was to be a steamboat!" Is that rather healthy talk for a man who not more than 23 days previously endeavored to get a certificate of disability to release him from the one hundred days service, and who failing in his attempt at Perrysburg afterward wrote to the Adjutant General, representing himself in a "delicate situation" whereupon he was somehow released. He must have got over it remarkably quick?
In the Journal of June 1st I noticed a card signed by J.R. Tyler, esq., in reference to a paragraph which appeared in one of my former letters. The statement which I made and which he desired to complain was to the effect that while a member of Company A, 64th Battalion O.N.G., he attempted t o obtain the position of Quartermaster of the Battalion- but failing in this, he then failed to make his appearance at Columbus with the company. Mr. Tyler does and deny my statement, but made out, he hesitated whether to "take it or refuse it," but circumstances and the advice of friends prevailed," and he "remained at home." Had he been offered the position he sought, is it probable that he would have hesitated about accepting it, or that "circumstances and the advice of friends" could have prevailed upon him to remain at home?
Let it be understood that I do not question the propriety of Mr. Tyler's exemption-that is a matter for medical men to decide, and with which I have nothing to do. But after he made the efforts which he did to obtain the Quartermaster's position; after he had thus urged his ability and manifested his willingness to serve his country. If he could obtain a commission and a good salary, I believe he is bound, by all considerations of honor and self respect to fill his place in the ranks-either by person or by a substitute after this a "legal" exemption might be given him but not one which he could honorably accept..
I do not desire to do Mr. Tyler or any one else, injustice--I believe that what I have written is true, and it is just that the truth be known I do not entertain the slightest ill-feelings toward him--neither have I the least sympathy with that class of patriots who are always clamorous to serve their country if it can be done with honor and profit, but who are likewise the first to shirk such a service when it is attended by work and thirteen dollars per month! That Mr. Tyler belongs to this class I do not assert, the circumstances are well known to the people of Wood County-let each one decide for himself; and if the facts warrant it, I sincerely hope the verdict will be unanimous in Mr. Tyler's favor..
Annapolis Junction, Md.
June 14, 1864.
Some time since I noticed a statement- in that Wood county paper published by a man (?) who stayed at home that he might not lose any of his blood or limbs in the services- to the effect that the "One Hundred Day's Men" were not wanted by the Government; that their being called into service was entirely owing to the gratuitous solicitations of certain Western Governors; and that this force was one for which the President and General Grant had no use. In refutation of that statement-if I may be pardoned for refuting such a statement from such a source-it is only necessary to refer to the employment of the companies of Wood county. At Camp Parole, the companies of Captain McKee and Captain Black relieved a portion of a New York regiment, which was immediately sent to the front; at this place, the company of Captain Cook relieved part of a New York artillery company, which left for Washington a day or two after our arrival here; the companies of Captain Kitchen and Captain Hathaway at Fort Dix relieved a portion of a Delaware regiment, which also went to the front. Whether the company of Captain Smith-now in Wilmington, Delaware- relieved a veteran company or not I am not informed; but they are unquestionably doing the duties which would otherwise require the presence of a volunteer company. I may also mention the fact that within the past few days a number of Ohio "One Hundred Days" regiments have passed through her for Washington and some of them it is stated have already been forwarded to General Grant. Does this look as though these men were a useless appendage to the army?.
Nothing of importance has occurred in Company F in the past week- we are performing the duties assigned to us to the best of our ability, and eating our rations with regularity and fortitude; we have had no engagements with the armed enemy; but we have had a conflict or two with stubborn masculine beef- in which be it known, we came out triumphant.
Our order of exercises for each day is about as follows: at 5 A.M. roll call, at 6, breakfast, at 8:30, company drill, at 12, dinner, at 6 P.M., supper, at 8:30 P.M. roll call, at 9 "put out lights.".
Our company is divided into two "messes"-two men in each mess do the cooking and are, of course, relieved from the duty. Our bill of fare is the same as that established at all Uncle Samuel's hotels, and embraces pork and beans, potatoes, beef, bread, and coffee- served up with only the ingenuity of an experienced army cook can devise. We get excellent fresh bread from a government bakery at this place. In short, our rations are generally ample but our appetites are always "equal to the emergency.".
On Sunday last, a number of members of our company attended church at Savage-a little village about three miles west of this place. The only item about the services at church , which struck us as being at all remarkable, or unlike what we are accustomed to at home, was the fact the during the entire service-in both prayers and sermon- no reference was made either to the Government or the rebellion, no petition for divine guidance was made on behalf of the lawful rulers of the country; no prayer was offered that the nation established by Washington and his compatriots be preserved!.
The officiating clergyman, however, did desire that this "cruel war" might cease, but as no word signified, how he wished it to cease, only one inference can be drawn from his silence, viz.: that his sympathies, which he dared not express, were with the traitor hosts of the Confederacy. It is very seldom that I venture a word of criticism concerning the religious belief of any individual, or the exercises of any church- yet to me, that "religion" which does not prompt its possessor to pray for his country, when it is struggling for life with armed traitors, seems little else than arrant hypocrisy. I confess a wish, as I left the church, that the clergyman and those of the congregation who admire his course might be turned over to the tender mercies of Jeff. Davis and his conscripting officers-their presence there could hardly be more injurious to the Union cause than is their influence here.
The health of the company continues good- there now being only one or two cases of slight sickness. I have not heard of any serious cases of sickness either at Camp Parole or Fort Dix..
Annapolis Junction, Md.
June 15, 1864.
On Monday last, I wrote you that there were no serious cases of sickness in Company F. At that time such was my belief, and the general belief of the company. True, we had a couple of men in the hospital, but we had not thought either of them to be dangerously ill. About 9 o'clock yesterday morning, however, we were startled by receiving word that Leonard Snyder, of this company, was dead. He had been unwell for a number of days, but remained in camp until Friday last, when he was worse, and had to be taken most of the way to the hospital on a stretcher. His disease was pronounced by the physicians to be typhoid fever, but members of the company who have seen frequent cases of brain fever, say that his attack and subsequent symptoms strongly resembled it. He improved however and on Sunday morning I am told he was able to sit up, and conversed with some members of the company who called to see him though he could talk but little at a time. Since Sunday afternoon, he appeared to be deranged all the time, except perhaps a few minutes Monday morning. Early Tuesday morning a member of the company went to see him and found him insensible in which condition he remained until about 6 o'clock when he died.
His remains were placed in a coffin by members of the company and at 11 o'clock this morning we followed him to a soldier's grave. The funeral procession was formed as follows:
MILITARY ESCORT: under command of Corporal Stewart with arms reversed- composed of the following persons: Lewis Householder, Harvey Phillips, Alanson Bushnell, Eli Scott, Alvin C. Austin, Thomas Shanks, John Priest, Isaac Smith.
PALL BEARERS: Alexander Bruce, Lewis Schaller, James Russell, Peter Algoner, Charles Champion, William Stein.
Then followed members of the company and officers.
Arrived at the grave, the escort halted in front of it-the company standing in line in rear of the escort. The Pall Bearers then lowered the coffin into the grave-the escort presenting arms. The Hospital Chaplain then read a portion of the Scriptures and offered up a prayer, after which the escort fired three volleys over the grave. The company then formed in the same order as before and returned to camp, leaving the dead soldier, so lately our associate.
"Alone in His Glory"
Leonard Snyder, was a resident of Webster Township, Wood County. He was not, when we left Perrysburg, a member of this company, but belonged to the company from Webster and Freedom townships which was broken up at Camp Chase, when he was assigned to Company F. He has resided in Webster township for 8 or 10 years past; has been married but was divorced from his wife about two or three years since. I am told that he has cousins residing somewhere in Wood County but no relatives in Webster Township. His father resides near Syracuse, New York. His age was 31..
I had no acquaintance with the deceased previous to his connection with this company- since that time, however, I have known him as a kind friend and a soldier always ready and willing to do any duty required of him. Possibly- had he made as great an effort as some who were members of this company- he might have obtained an exemption and remained at home, and today been in his usual health, but he responded to the call of Governor Brough and has fallen in the service of his country. And I appeal to you readers, whether the memory of this dead solider-whatever may have been his past faults or failings- in his late sickness knew no mother's or sister's care and whose grave was watered by no relative's tear, is he not a thousand times more worthy of the honor and respect of his countrymen than is the man who sneaked from service of his country, and remains at home-a live healthy coward?
"Honored Soldier Rest in Peace".
The only member of Company F now in Hospital is Robert Emmons, who was severely bruised a day or two since, by falling from a cherry tree. No bones were broken, however, and he is recovering.
Here in the immediate vicinity of Company F remain in stata quo and no change of base is regarded as probable before the expiration of our term of our service..
The health of the company is good. With the exception of Emmons-who fell from a cherry tree but is now able to get around- there is no member of the company in hospital here. I have however, failed to notice that Caleb Miller was some time since sent to the hospital at Relay Barracks, he having been unwell ever since we left home..
It is my opinion that we are enjoying much better than average fare of soldiers in camp. Our duties are light, and at their leisure the boys have reconnoitered the surrounding country on private account, and been rewarded by the discovery of the abundance of cherries and mulberries-of which we are welcome to all we choose to pick. The consequence is that some of our company keep up a continual skirmishing with the cherry trees and up to the present time the advantage has invariably been in our favor that we have all the fruit we can eat-which, by the way, is no small amount. There is also any quantity of blackberries and huckleberries within easy range of our camp, which are already beginning to ripen; peach and apple trees in this locality are also loaded with fruit. There need, therefore, be no fear of suffering for want of the necessities of life..
Thursday evening last President Lincoln and party passed this place in a special train for Philadelphia-but the train did not stop. However, when he returned on Friday the train was detained for 15 or 20 minutes, when the President appeared on the platform of the car, bowed to the crowd, but didn't "make a speech!".
On Sunday last a collision occurred on the Washington branch of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad about half a mile from our camp. The two locomotives were considerably injured, the front end of a passenger car broken in and a lieutenant seriously bruised; two freight cars filled with cavalry horses were completely wrecked and the platform of one being raised off its trucks, and sliding on the platform of the other, unceremoniously scattering the horses out of the other side, yet none of them were injured, with the exception of a few slight scratches..
On Thursday morning last, in company with Lieut. Tyler and Sergts. Averill and Bates I visited Washington, and very soon after our arrival we commenced on an exploration of the curiosities of the National Capital. Time and space forbid that I should attempt even the briefest description of what to us was interesting and seemed worthy of mention; yet I cannot forebear a brief general allusion to the most important objects of interest..
Of course, the first thing which attracts the attention of a stranger is the Capitol building-the extent and grandeur of which surpassed even the idea I had formed of it from many descriptions which have been so freely circulated by the newspapers. The Capitol of Ohio is a fine building and an honor to the state, yet it would appear like an unattractive pygmy if placed beside the Capitol of the Nation..
Among other public buildings which we visited were the Treasury Department, Post Office Department, President's Mansion, Smithsonian Institute, and Patent Office. The two latter are truly, in the fullest sense of the term, curiosity establishments. At the Smithsonian may be seen specimens of almost every known variety of beasts and birds-stuffed of course-looking much more natural and life-like than the sickly specimens to be seen in traveling menageries, also, specimens of fishes, rocks, minerals, & c. In fact, almost everything to be found in air, earth, or water. Our visit here was short and one glance at the various specimens a hasty one, yet we were convinced that the Smithsonian was one of the interesting features of Washington. In the same catalogue however may be enumerated the Patent Office, where may be seen models of all the machinery, implements, & c. for which patents have been issued; also many rare and curious articles manufactured in foreign countries, the original Declaration of Independence and Commission of Washington as Commander-in Chief are to be seen- both, however, are very much faded and the signatures are very indistinct. The printing press at which Benjamin Franklin worked when a journeyman printer in London is also to be found there..
Friday morning we visited the Navy Yard, and passed through a number of shops connected therewith, were we saw in process of construction articles for the navy many times too numerous to publish. Among many other things in the relic department were two small brass guns brought from Spain by Cortez and also used by him in the conquest of Mexico. There were also a large number of implements of war which had been captured in battle..
Our visit to the President's Mansion was unattended by important results. We found a fellow with his feet in a chair, apparently enjoying a delightful snooze at one of the windows of the East Room- but it wasn't "Old Abe", we concluded it was a sleepy sentinel. Finding doors open and meeting with no opposition, we proceeded to usher ourselves through some of the apartments, but didn't see "Father Abraham"- in fact he had fled- he couldn't stand the descent of the "One Hundred Days' Men" and had consequently gone to Philadelphia to attend the Sanitary Fair. In his absence, however, one of our crowd placed himself in a statesmanlike attitude and received the balance of the party with "distinguished consideration." After this we withdrew, feeling confident that although we had not seen the President we had seen where he had been. And this reminds me of an interesting incident which once happened away out in Illinois, but as I was not there when it happened, I will not attempt to related it, but go for my rations..
Yours for victuals and A. Lincoln,.
Annapolis Junction, Md.
June 28, 1864.
Monotony reigns profound in the neck of the woods, wherein Company F has its abiding place. During the past week, scarcely an incident worth noting has occurred in camp..
The health of the company continues good. Siegmond Schaller went to the hospital last Saturday, sick with intermittent fever, but he is now improving. Caleb Miller remains in the hospital at Relay Barracks; and I learn that Corporal Garner-who remained at relay House when we came here- is now in hospital there with fever..
Persons from Relay House state that the companies of Captains Kitchen and Hathaway, at Fort Dix, are enjoying very good health. They have a few cases of sickness but I have heard of none which are regarded as dangerous..
On Friday last, Samuel Holder of Captain McKee's company passed here on his way home. He had been granted a furlough on account of a lame foot which disabled him from service. At that time, Austin Bassett of the same company was very sick and his recovery was considered extremely doubtful. Of his present condition I am uninformed..
A few days since I had the pleasure of meeting Captain Black here and at that time he stated that not a man of his company was sick..
Yesterday we received a brief visit from Lieutenant Colonel Miller, who, it will be remembered, remained at Fort McHenry as Provost Marshal of the Post, when the 144th left there. He still occupies the position, and looks hale, hearty, and jovial as usual. By the way, I have heretofore failed to notice that some weeks since Colonel Miller asked to be relieved of the duties of Provost Marshal of the Fort, that he might join his regiment. Instead, however, of his request being granted, his letter was returned to him having an endorsement by Brigadier General Morris, commanding the post, to the effect that the General commanding respectfully declined to relieve him as his administration had given great satisfaction, and the General then knew of no officer there as well qualified to discharge the duties of the Provost Marshal's office. Colonel Miller, however, hopes soon to be able to join some portion of the regiment-which as I have before informed you is considerably scattered..
A long train of wounded men passed here yesterday and about 30 members of this company were sent to the station, to pass water to the gallant fellows, during the few minutes which they stopped. The train consisted primarily of boxcars and most of the men having received what are in war parlance slight wounds were able to walk, and in measure help themselves. Yet in passing along the train, one could not fail to see painful sights. Many wanted cold water poured upon their wounds and this was done when they requested it. For this purpose, one man uncovered a stump of an arm only five or six inches of which remained; another, an arm off at his elbow; here, you pour water on an arm through which a rebel bullet has passed then on an arm without a hand, or on a hand minus a finger or a thumb or perhaps both. Yet the poor fellows were patient and cheerful, and one would not help admiring the heroic manner in which they bore their sufferings..
A portion of these men were from Petersburg and others from various battlefields of General Grant's campaign. They are being taken to hospitals in Baltimore and vicinity..
Bowling Green State University | Bowling Green, OH 43403-0001 | Contact Us | Campus Map | Accessibility Policy