This Regiment was organized at Camp Chase, March 5, 1865. Four of its Companies were from the Toledo Congressional District; one from Cincinnati; one from Dayton; one from Georgetown; and one from Tuscarawas County.
The field officers of the Regiment were as follows: Colonel, Henry D. Kingsbury, of Toledo; Lieutenant-Colonel, J. McDermott Roe, of Toledo; Major, Norman Waite, of Toledo; Surgeon, Sidney C. Gordon; Assistant Surgeons, L.S.B. Otwell and Curtis Otwell.
The Regiment left Camp Chase March 7th, for Huntsville, Alabama, arriving there on the 17th. Seven Companies were stationed at points on the Memphis & Charleston Railroad, between Stevenson and Decatur, and engaged in building stockades and guarding bridges. June 20th the Regiment was concentrated at Huntsville, performing post duty there until September 25th, when it was ordered to Nashville, and there mustered out. Thence it proceeded to Camp Chase, and was there paid and discharged October 7, 1865.
As in the case of most of the Regiments raised during the last few months of the Rebellion, the One Hundred and Eighty-Ninth was not permitted to see much of the active service common to commands earlier in the field; but it was out long enough for officers and men to manifest both their desire and their fitness for whatever of toil or danger might be involved in the defense of the Union.
Letters From the 189th OVI
Included here are several letters written by "Radix," the pen-name of a member of the 189th OVI. The letters were sent to the local newspaper, the Daily Toledo Blade during the spring and summer of 1865.
From the DAILY TOLEDO BLADE
Letter From the 189th O.V.I.
EDITOR BLADE: A day or two ago the familiar face Toledo BLADE greeted my pleased vision, and I eagerly perused it, and in return send you this.
The monotony of camp life remains unbroken, save by an occasional call to "turn out," as some green sentinel fires his rifle on picket and creates an alarm. The other night a quantity of cotton, stored at the depot near camp, caught fire and burned the depot. As the bushwhacking fraternity are plentiful hereabouts, we naturally supposed they had set fire to the cotton and depot, and would,under cover of the confusion, attack the post. However, the garrison was alarmed, promptly turned out, but no attack followed.--The depot and cotton were totally destroyed.--As yet, we have had no attack here, although they have stolen some mules within rifle shot of the main guard. The guerrillas are under command of a Col. Meade, of the regular rebel army, who is detailed north of the Tennessee river to do all damage possible. There are, also, gangs of bushwhackers, composed of citizens and deserters from both Union and rebel troops, who plunder defenceless citizens, but keep clear of all places where they would get more "dry knocks" than plunder.
Capt. C. D. Dennis is commander of this post. His duties relate to everything of a military character.
Capt. Lathrop, of Co. B., has his headquarters here also, although much the larger portion of his company, fit for duty, is garrisoning Bellefont under command of 2d Lieut. Costack. What portion of B remains at this post are progressing as well as new companies ever do. One thing both companies have learned, and that is picket duty. This they have learned by experience, and before they had learned to march in anything like order to their posts. The health of both companies remains much as usual, although a slow but gradual improvement is taking place.
One prime cause of sickness is nostalgia--there is no mistaking this. Private so and so will receive a letter form home, about the time he is getting used to camp-life and diet, giving a most dolorous picture of lonesome hours at home, repining that he ever left, and wishing him to "come back;" while corporal --------- will get another one, wondering why he ever did go into the army, complaining that she has fretted herself into a fever, while her hopeful Bill has the toothache and a pair of bad shoes, and her next youngest, Matilda Malvina, has been into some scrape and got badly hurt, while she felt so bad she could not attend them. There is no mistaking the effect of these letters. Down goes the corporals head on his knees--his face the counterpart of a collapsed case of cholera--while the private looks as though it would be a relief to him if some energetic man would quietly send him to glory.--I would say to the married women who consented to their husbands’ volunteering instead of being drafted, "If you write at all, write common sense, if you have it; if not, save paper and ink. Give your husbands encouragement. Write words of cheer and bid him God speed." Such a letter will infuse life in a man, who otherwise would not have energy enough to carry a musket, and return him home, hale and hearty; while the letters I spoke of have a directly opposite tendency.
The following members of Company G, have joined the company from hospitals since I wrote to youo Sergt. Golly, John Elder, John E. Hunt, and Jacob Swartz.
The following have been sent to the Huntsville hospital: Russell M. Calkins, Frederic Ish, Israel H. Rosenberger, Wm. C. McRill, Isaac Harned, P.J. Wickard, Alonzo Shaeffer, and Corporal Merrit Phillips.
The following are the names of those sick in Company B:
Corp. William Johnson, sick at Huntsville.
George Birkimes, sick at Nashville.
Walter M. Davis, sick at Camp Chase.
August Greiger, sick at Nashville.
Martin V.B. Hall, sick at Nashville.
Adam Hezt, sick at Nashville.
Henry G. Jessup, sick at Huntsville.
Martin Lenergan, sick at Nashville.
James Martin, sick at Nashville.
David McCollough, sick at Huntsville.
John McCollough, sick at Nashville.
James Olmstead, sick in camp.
John H. Robins, sick at Nashville.
Samuel Rickark, sick in camp.
Thomas Robinson, sick at Nashville.
David Stutsmith, sick in camp.
Louis Crossman, sick in camp.
Louis Swertzy, Co. B, died March 21st, at Nashville.
Two of Company G, have died, viz: -------- Blinn, of Perrysburg, and O. P. Richardson, of Fostoria, of measles, at Huntsville.
Just as I close, a report that Grant has captured Richmond, Lee and 12,000 prisoners has reached us, and we can hear the boom of a salute from Huntsville in honor of the event.
DAILY TOLEDO BLADE
FROM THE 189th O.V.I.
HUNTSVILLE, ALA., July 18, 1863.
EDITOR BLADE: As we still remain in Alabama, I forward you a few sketches of how this Regiment is progressing.
Some time since orders were received to consolidate as much of the Regiment as possible, and in accordance therewith all the Companies except F were ordered to Huntsville, and now the whole force is consolidated here, except F, and 115 men scattered at various posts along the Miss. & Charleston Railroad. Brevet Brigadier General Kingsbury remains in command, while Lieut. Col. Roe is engaged on a Military Commission, and Major Waite is Post Commandant. Capt. Howlett is Provost Marshal of the Post, and Lieut. Anderson Post Quartermaster.
Quite a number of promotions have been made during the past month, the majority of which you have published. Several resignations are now pending, which, if accepted, will gladden the hearts and adorn the shoulders of many Orderly Sergeants with 2d Lieutenant straps. Geo. Furry, Orderly Sergeant of Co. G, has been promoted Sergeant major, and Jno. Stove, Co. G, has been promoted to Hospital Steward.
A glimpse of Ohio civilization has been thrown over the camp by the presence of Major Waite’s lady and a daughter of General Kingsbury, which makes the men more anxious than ever to return home. When this latter event will take place is beyond the knowledge of your correspondent, as we have received over 100 recruits from the 102d and 175th O.V.I., whose term of service would not expire for some time yet. This does not look muck like mustering out the 189th, as they would scarcely send recruits to a Regiment which was soon to go home.
The sanitary condition of the force is good, when the climate, rations and exposure are taken into consideration. The majority of cases are of a mild intermittent type, which readily yield to treatment. Occasionally an obstinate case of flux is met with, but no deaths have yet occurred from this cause.
Appended to this letter is a list of all deaths reported at Headquarters up to July 1, 1865. To this may be added Sergt. Kinneman, Co. I., and one death in Co. C., whose name I am unable to learn at present. From this you can judge the 189th will bear comparison with the majority of new regiments.
However good the intention of the order discharging all men in hospital, its effect has been most prejudicial to both men and the efficiency of new commands. Men who become unwell have their discharge in view and therefore resort to any and all means to get to a hospital, knowing that their discharge is sure to follow in the course of a month or two. This creates indifference to sanitary regulations in camp and violations of orders for their own good. To-day there are only 41 men, out of 890, who are not able to do duty. The majority of these are around camp and able to report at the hospital tent. As a regiment it is about as quiet and orderly a one as I have had the fortune to meet, but should the Paymaster come this sates of affairs may change. The boys have come to look on this thing of mustering for pay as a most superlative humbug, and only done to give them work in washing their shirts and scouring up their rifles. Well, if uncle Sam is slow in this particular, all believe his promise is very sure. I think we will see the likeness of Chief Justice Chase on a greenback about the time we see Ohio.
There are no signs of civil law here yet, and Gov. Parsons may yet get his force organized by the time he is an old man, if he keeps on as he has began. We have a live paper in Huntsville now and its editor, for a strong Southern man, comes out as near right as could be expected. He takes the ground that slavery is defunct and no hopes of a miracle in its behalf to bring it to life.
A correspondent of the N. Y. Herald states that a large cotton crop will be raised in Northern Alabama this season. Well, I have been unable to "see it," and I have gone over the country some. About half a crop was planted, and of this not half an average crop will be picked, owing to bad seasons, worse cultivation, etc., so that not more than one-eighth an average crop will be produced. -- This is the case wherever I have been.
The following is a list of deaths in the 189th O.V.I., reported officially up to July 1, 1865:
Co. B. -- John McCullough.
Co. C. -- Simeon O. Edmonds, Othello B. Cross, Abraham Renneker.
Co. F. -- James E. Elliott, Corenus McNeil, John W. Smith, Thomas J. Weekly.
Co. G. -- William H. Buttolph, Oscar G. Richardson, Henry Carter, Frederick Ish.
Co. H. -- William A. Wilson.
Co. I. -- Adam Zarnhart, Elliot Webb, William Hiter, Henry Payton, William H. Shoutridge.
From theToledo Blade:
From The 189th O. V. I.
HUNTSVILLE, Ala., July 29, 1865.
EDITOR BLADE: But little of interest has transpired here during the interim of my previous letter and this, except the visit from one of Uncle Sam’s Paymasters with a plentiful supply of National currency, of which commodity the Regiment received some $80,000 for two months’ pay and bounty, and the express company did a corresponding heavy business in sending the greater part thereof to Ohio. Some of the boys verified the adage of "making money like horses and spending it like asses," consequently they are nearly broke and only have a few gaudy red shirts, old fiddles and brass watches to show for it.
No steps have been taken to get rid of military law and establish civil rule instead. Gov. Parsons has not moved at all, so far as Northern Alabama is aware. In the meantime, a military commission dispenses justice and Provost-Marshal Howlett keeps the lawless in check, while Sambo and his sooty relations peddle pies, blackberries, onions, potatoes, etc., through town and camp, but will not touch the plantation hoe. Something must to done to get rid of all the debris of war, both animate and inanimate.
The old and young secesh are quietly waiting for all blue coats to leave, when they intend to ignore the proclamation of freedom and gobble up all the darkies and put them to work, as though the four years’ struggle had never occurred.
The monotony of camp was diversified for a few minutes to day by the presentation of a splendid saber to Lieut. Kostack, formerly 2d Lieutenant of Co. B. It was totally unexpected by all, except the boys who had subscribed for the gift. The presentation was made [by) John McBride (Orderly Sergeant of Co. B) in the following terms:
Lieut. K. was so taken by surprise he could scarcely summon nerve to reply. His remarks were impromptu and full of kind wishes to the donors. Surprise, pride and gratitude all struggled for utterance -- pride at the beautiful gift and gratitude for the esteem in which his comrades hold him. His remarks called for the rousing cheers from Company B, and closed the modest presentation.
The gift is a splendid piece of workmanship, with solid German silver scabbard, heavily banded with gold, solid silver grip, gold guard, with Minerva’s crest on the pommel, and on the scabbard is the following inscription:
It is a gift he may well feel proud of, more especially as he is not now a member of that company, having been promoted and assigned to another one.
The question, "When are we going home?" has not met with an answer yet, although a good many would like it solved. Some say two months -- some one. Gen. Thomas won’t tell, I can’t, and what is more, don’t feel like going until our "misguided brethren" show a little more Union "faith by works."
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