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Gallia County, Ohio
History & Genealogy

In the War of the Rebellion
Source:  History of Gallia County
Publ: 1882 - H. H. Hardesty & Co., Publishers, Chicago & Toledo



     The first men who enlisted in Gallia county, at the breaking out of the rebellion in 1861, were for the three months' service.  One company was organized at Gallipolis during the latter part of April, and formed a part of the 18th Regiment Ohio Infantry, which was sent to Parkersburg, and thence to the interior of West Virginia.  During May, 1861, application was made to Governor Denison for authority to raise another company, but the one making the application was told by the governor that applications were already on file, tendering more men than the State could ever expect to sue in crushing the rebellion.  At the suggestion of the Governor, who gave a strong letter upon the subject, an interview was had with General George B. McClellan, then station at Cincinnati.  General McClellan, after listening to the representations made, gave authority for the organization of loyal Virginians.  Under this authority the enlistment of men for three years was begun, with headquarters at Mason City, Virginia.  Gallia county supplied many men for this service before Ohio began organizing three years' regiments.  Three hundred of them were probably mustered into the 4th Virginia Infantry, under command of officers from Gallia county.  During the spring and summer of 1861, an equal number entered other than Ohio regiments.
     The location of Gallipolis had much to do with the early enlistments of her sons in the Union army.  For many years before the war, the town had been the depot of supplies for the entire Kanawha (Virginia) Valley, and at the inception of the rebellion the Confederates looked upon the possession of this valley with a jealous eye, and at an early day Governor Henry A. Wise, of Virginia, was sent as the commandant of the rebel troops, with his headquarters at Charleston.  Officers and troops from his command were sent to Buffalo, twenty miles up the Kenawha from Gallipolis, and steamboats were in daily communication between Gallipolis and Charleston, passing Buffalo.  Arms and munitions of war were purchased by Confederate emissaries in Cincinnati and brought to the Kanawha, passing, unheeded on steamboats and by private conveyance.  Early in the history of the war, extensive rifle-pits were constructed upon the hills surrounding Gallipolis, and every road entering the town was properly defended.  During the seasons of greatest excitement, messengers would be sent throughout the country and the citizens would respond, promptly assembling at Gallipolis by hundreds, armed with rifles.  A constant guard was kept, and the citizens, old and young, each had thus more or less experience in the pleasing pastime of lying in the rifle-pits, during all kinds of weather, waiting for some one to shoot at.
     Soon after the opening of hostilities, Hon. Albert Gallatin Jenkins, a member of Congress and a popular man, engaged in the organization of troops for service in the rebel army, at a point a few miles below Gallipolis.  Among his recruits were many who had attended school at Gallipolis, and were familiar with every avenue of approach; hence the people looked with alarm upon the probably events of the future, and Gallipolis became one of the prominent points upon which the accumulating storm clouds that were enveloping the country were expected to burst.
     The Gallia Guards, a company of 77 men, were organized in April, 1861, for home duty.  Henry Graham, captain, James Harper, first lieutenant; H. N. Ford, second lieutenant.  Captain Graham soon entered the United States service,  and James Harper became captain.  This company rendered valuable service to the city during the war.


     About the 23d of May, 1861, Companies A and F, of the 21st Ohio Infantry, (three months' service) came to Gallipolis, and were received by the citizens with unbounded applause.  They were fed at the old market house on the evening of their arrival, and afterward until the arrival of the remainder of the command, on the old wharf boat.  At five o'clock P. M. on the 27th of the same month, the balance of the regiment arrived under the command of Colonel Jesse S. Norton, of Perrysburg, Ohio, (now a resident of Toledo.)  Their reception was an ovation long to be remembered.  The troops marched to the public square and stacked arms, and were immediately surrounded by hundreds of the citizens, who received them with thanksgiving.  The memory of that eventful day is yet cherished by all the people of Gallipolis.  Colonel Norton, Lieutenant Colonel Neibling, and many others of the officers and privates of that regiment, gained friends while stationed here who have never forgotten them.
     On the 29th of May, the 21st Regiment went into camp in a wheat field, on the Barlow farm, at the upper end of the city, namely it "Camp Carrington."  The government afterward erected a general hospital upon this lot, which was maintained until the close of the war.  AT one time there were fully four thousand patients in this hospital, and the exertions of the brave men and self-sacrificing women of Gallipolis, in behalf of the sick, wounded and suffering, in part of the history of our country.
     The regiment remained here, doing guard duty, until about the first of July, when a portion of them, under command of the Colonel, made a reconnaissance up the Kanawha, and captured about thirty prominent rebel citizens, as hostages for the good treatment and safe return of some loyal Virginians previously captured by General Jenkins.  These latter prisoners were released as speedily as possible after this act of retaliation, and the rebel victims of this little unpleasantness, after a trip to Camp Chase, under guard of a squad of the Gallia Guards, in command of Captain McGowan, of the 21st Ohio Regiment, were allowed to return to their homes.  This little episode of the war has since been frequently related by many of the victims with considerable mirth, but at the time of its occurrence it was considered quite a serious affair.  On the 3d and 4th of July, the regiment made a forced March to Ripley, Virginia, intending to surprise the enemy who were stationed there, but they fled before the town was reached, and the regiment returned to Gallipolis.  On the 11th of July, the 21st Regiment with the 11th and 12th Ohio, and 2d Kentucky Infantry, and Captain C. S. Cotter's Battery A, of the 1st Ohio Light Artillery, of two guns, was formed into a brigade, under command of General J. D. Cox, and commenced the march up the Kenawha river, with the intention of driving the enemy, in command of General H. A. Wise, from the valley.
     On the morning of the 17th, a battle was fought at Scarey creek, in which, although the enemy were repulsed, Colonel Norton was wounded and made prisoner, and Captain Allen and Lieutenant Pomeroy, of Company D, were killed.  This was noted as being among the first battles of the war.  At this time, also, Colonel DeVilliers, of the 11th Ohio, Colonel Woodruff, of the 2d Kentucky, and Lieutenant-Colonel George W. Neff, of the 1st Kentucky, approaching the battle-field, and mistaking their enemies for their friends, were captured.  The brigade proceeded up the valley, driving the Confederate forces, the 21st accompanying them as far as Charleston, where they remained a few days and then returned to Gallipolis.  They remained here a few days beyond their term of enlistment, and then returned home to reorganize for three years.  Captain Cotter, who was very popular with the regiment named them the "Twenty-Onesters," by which they were known through the service.  The balance of the brigade proceeded up the valley and overtook and defeated the troops of General H. A. Wise at Gauley bridge.
     In the fall of 1861, Companies A and B, of the 31st Ohio, under command of Major Leffingwell, came to Gallipolis, and were superseded by the Trumbull Guards, a company enlisted in Trumbull county, especially for the purpose of serving at Gallipolis.  They came in the spring of 1862, and were commanded by Captain C. W. Smith.
Gallipolis was early made a general depot for the quartermaster and commissary supplies for the army of West Virginia, and during the progress of the war, became one of the most important points in the country.  Knowing this to be the case of the Confederates endeavored, on many occasions, to capture and destroy the supplies.  The Union troops continued to occupy Charleston, Virginia, headquarters have been established there, but the valley between that point and the Ohio for a long time, continued to be occupied more or less by detached bands of Confederate troops.  Between Point Pleasant and Charleston, the boats in the United States service, transporting supplies to the latter point, were constantly threatened and frequently attacked by the enemy - the object of the Confederates being not only to capture supplies, but to obtain possession of a boat for the transportation of troops to Gallipolis, before any alarm could be given.  After the capture of this city and the immense amount of government stores there, the evident intention was to make a general raid through the State.  Nothing could have prevented this if they had succeeded in the design of capturing a boat, as Gallipolis at this time was almost devoid the defense.  The danger of the service on the Kanawha river boats at this time, can be readily understood.  The services of many Gallia county men on the Kanawha an other river boats, and in the naval and gunboat service, deserve particular mention, but it would take a volume to record them and do the subject justice.  A large number of experienced steamboat men resided in the city, who entered this branch of the service, and by reason of this knowledge of the rivers, and familiarity with the duties, as well as their eminent courage and good judgment in times of danger, rendered invaluable service.


     On February 1st, 1863, Captain Charles Regnier, commander of the government steamer B. C. Levi, received a dispatch of General Scammon, ordering him to report with his steamer at Point Pleasant, for the purpose of transporting himself and staff to Charleston.  The order was immediately obeyed, and on the evening of the 2d, General S. and staff arrived from Wheeling and on the evening of the 2d, General S. and staff arrived from Wheeling and got aboard Captain R.'s boat, which immediately started on its trip up the Kanawha.  They arrived at the Red House about one o'clock A. M., and, owning to the darkness, they were unable to pass.  General S. informed the captain that his scouts had reported that the enemy were nowhere in the neighborhood, and consequently there was no danger to be apprehended.  He therefore laid at Red House, intending to await the approach of daylight to enable him to proceed.  Between four and five o'clock, on the morning of the 3d, a band of twenty-eight rebels, under command of Major James Knowning, attacked and drove in the four sentinels who had been placed on guard and took possession of the steamer without resistance, as there was no one to oppose them.  The general and staff, thirteen unarmed soldiers (who were on their way to Charleston to rejoin their regiment after a furlough), and the officers of the boat were all taken prisoners, and a few boxes of hospital supplies (all the merchandise there was on board) were secured.  Placing the officers of the boat under guard, she was run over to Winfield, where a few more rebel troops were taken on board, when she proceeded about four or five miles below, to Vintroux Landing.  Upon arriving here, all but General S. and staff were released and given five minutes to leave the steamer, when she was burned.  General S. and staff were joined on bare-backed horses and conducted, via the Hurricane road en route for Richmond.  The furloughed soldiers found their way to Charleston, and the boat's crew proceeded to the village of Buffalo, where they remained until a steamer, which they telegraphed to Gallipolis for, arrived and took to that city.  Captain R., as soon as possible, reported the affair to Colonel R. B. Hayes, then is command at Charleston, with the 23d Ohio Infantry, and was fully exonerated in the matter.  He immediately entered the transport service at Mobile, Alabama, and rendered valuable aid during the entire war.


   On the 29th of March, 1863, General Jenkins, with a brigade of troops, established a blockade on the Kanawha river, for the purpose of capturing to steamer Victor No. 2, in command of Captain Fred. Ford, on which was Paymaster B. R. Cowen, with a large supply of government funds.  After a severe encounter, the boat eluded the enemy and found its way to Point Pleasant, which was then occupied by a company of Union troops, under command of Captain J. D. CarterCaptain Ford reported the approach of the enemy, and and Captain C. made the best preparation that he could, with his small force, to receive them, occupying the court house.
     On the 30th, the Confederates entered the town the took possession it, as little opposition could be offered them, the Union troops still occupying the court house, from which they were not dislodged.  An attempt was at once made to obtain possession of the wharf-boat, where were stowed an immense amount of government supplies, but Captain Ford ran his boat in, and, under a heavy fire from the enemy, succeeded in detaching it and towing it safely to Gallipolis.  Here he obtained a battery of guns from the steamer General Meigs, and, with what reinforcements he could hastily obtain, returned to the assistance of Carter.  The Gallia and Trumbull Guards, under command of Captain James Harper, marched up the river and were ferried across to Point Pleasant, but as they entered the town, the enemy were fleeing over the hills.  A number of the citizens of Gallipolis accompanied the Guards.  The artillery opened fire upon the enemy from the boat, and, with the assistance of the land forces, succeeded in soon driving them from their position.  In their retreat, they left behind them twenty-four of their number as prisoners.  The steamer, after the battle, was found to be completely riddled with bullets, and its appearance spoke eloquently of the severity of the strife and the courage of those participating in it.  Thus was Gallipolis saved from capture and probable pillage, and a general raid throughout the State prevented by the prompt action of a few courageous men.
     Colonel A. G. Jenkins was killed in a skirmish at Cloyd Mountain, by the 9th West Virginia Infantry in command of Colonel I. A. Duval, May 9th, 1864.


     John Morgan and his "merry men" paid Gallia county a visit while on their raiding expedition through the State in 1863.  July 23d, of that year, they came through Raccoon township, thence across Huntington, Morgan and Cheshire townships to the Ohio river, where an attempt was made to cross, but seeing a tow-boat lying above Eight Mile Island, and supposing it to be a gunboat, the raiders turned down the river, and were overtaken by Union forces who were in pursuit of them.   Over two hundred of their number were captured in the upper end of Addision township.  Morgan, with the main body of his troops, passed up Campaign creek, through Addision, Morgan and Huntington townships, going through Ewington early in the morning of the 24th, where he captured a company of militia from Portsmouth and took their ammunition, which at that time he was badly in need of.  After obtaining this, the prisoners were released and he proceeded rapidly north, by a circuitous route, until he reached Columbiana county, where he was captured by Union forces in command of Major WayMorgan was confined in the Ohio penitentiary, from which he escaped by tunneling out, and was subsequently killed in Tennessee.
     On his first body of his troops passed through Vinton, where a large number took supper, paying for the same with goods taken from the various stores.  On leaving this village, they burned the bridge over Raccoon creek.  This includes the principal damage done in the county.  They made a great number of horse trades, invariably obtaining the best of the bargain.  The horses they left were afterward gathered up by the government officials.  The horses they left were afterward gathered up by government officials.  By this means, the farming community, who were forced into the trade, were readily enabled to compute their profits in the transaction, as the government agents did not go through the formality of leaving anything in place of them.
     Upon the approach of Morgan, the militia from all parts was called to Gallipolis, where a vast amount of quartermaster and commissary goods were stored, and which it was thought he would undertake to destroy.  It was astonishing with what alacrity the call was responded to.  Before Morgan set foot in the country, nearly all the men and boys capable of bearing arms reported for duty, in command of their newly elected officers, who were ready and willing to throw themselves into the breach.  At the time, there were several officers in Gallipolis, who had seen service in the field, and they were assigned to duty.  By the time the men would have been needed, they were sufficiently well drilled for all practical purposes, and would doubtless have given Morgan a warm reception.  There is no event in the history of our country which so fully and practically illustrates its vast resources and the patriotism of its people, as that of the Morgan Raid through Southern Ohio.
     After Morgan had left the county, those of his troops that had been captured, numbering two hundred and nine, were sent to Cincinnati on the steamer Bertha.  The companies of Captains Meikle and Clark, numbering eighty to one hundred men, were detailed as guard, under command of Alexander Vance, an ex-army officer.  In the passage down the river, when the boat would pass near the Kentucky shore, the temptation was strong among the prisoners to attempt an escape.  The water was low, and at Portsmouth the boat was obliged to lay to on account of fog.  While here, three more Morgan men were taken prisoners and placed with the other.  Arriving at Cincinnati at three o'clock P.M., the landing of the prisoners was delayed until the next day, and the boat was anchored in the middle of the stream.  During the night one man escaped by climbing through the wheel and swimming to the Kentucky shore, where he was recaptured, and one was drowned in making the attempt.  The balance - 211 in all - were turned over to United States officials at Cincinnati.
     It is impossible to give a full account of the adventures of Morgan and his men in Gallia county in a brief space.  Some of the details will be found among the personal histories of the county, herein published.  Many of them were encountered in detached squads, a number gave themselves up, and some escaped by crossing the river.  Citizens of the county were pressed in as guides to conduct them to the Ohio river.  A squad of them entered Crown City, where several were killed and a number drowned in attempting to cross. 


     There is probably no point upon the Ohio river, from Pittsburg to Cairo, where the intercourse of the inhabitants upon both sides of the stream - the dividing line between slavery and freedom - had been so free and friendly as between Gallia county and the opposite territory in Virginia, before the breaking out of hostilities in the war of the rebellion.  There were close ties of kinship, as well as friendship, extensive business connections, and all those elements existed which tend, in the greatest degree, to draw communities together by the closest bonds of fraternity.  For this reason, the difference which grew up between them at this time, (when each was obliged to take a decided stand upon the important issues then agitating the country,) rendered the antagonistic feeling between individuals on opposite sides all the more bitter.  Yet much of this friendly feeling existing during the entire war, and when it closed, to the great relief of all, they were prepared, with few individual exceptions, to return to their old allegiance to each other, and today the warmest hearted fraternity exists between them, even in the greater degree than ever before.
     It has been impossible to ascertain the names of the various commands in which the men of Gallia county served.  Many of them enlisted in Virginia and Kentucky, as well as Ohio regiments, and all branches of the service were represented.  Many individual cases might be mentioned of men and regiments, in which the county was largely represented, that rendered signal service to their country, to which a volume out to be especially devoted.  The records show that Gallia county responded promptly to all calls for troops; she furnished as many men as any county in the State, in proportion to population, and the conduct of her soldiers, upon the battlefields of the war, was unsurpassed for bravery and devotion to country.



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