Leaving Lynchburg - Arrival at Camp Dennison - Assigned to Quarters - Drill - Uniforms - Tents - Visits of Citizens of Lynchburg - Presentation of Swords - New Quarters - First Payment - Full Companies - Regiment Full - Field and Staff - Band - Monotony of Camp Life.
In the mean time, Capt. Frazee had been to Camp Dennison, and decided to attach his company to the 48th Regt. O. V. I., Col. Sullivan, commanding. Long before dawn on the 14th, the people of the surrounding country began to wend their way to Lynchburg, to witness the company's departure, which now numbered 82, officers and men. After parading through the principal streets, we halted in front of our camp, and took leave of our families and friends. The parting over, we boarded the cars, and were off to join our Regiment.
We arrived at Camp Dennison at 10 A. M. and were introduced to Colonel P. J. Sullivan, who welcomed us in a short, patriotic speech, after which we gave him three rousing cheers, and were marched to the quarters of Capt. Parker's company, from New Lexington, Highland county, Ohio, where we partook of our first meal, furnished by "Uncle Sam," which consisted of coffee, rice, potatoes, bacon and bread. Quite a change from Camp Harvey rations, of beefsteak, roast chicken, cakes, pies, preserves, &c., &c. After dinner we were examined by a regular Army Surgeon. Our previous examination had been made by Dr. S. J. Spees. The surgeon rejected R. B. Barnett, Peter Snider, William Stroup and John Aber; but they were finally accepted, and the majority of them proved as able for the service as many others, who passed the examination. We were then assigned to our quarters, consisting of frame shanties, ten by twelve feet, with room sufficient to accommodate twelve men. Each company had eight shanties, one kitchen, and a building for the officers.
We have given the history of the company, from its organization until it linked its fortunes with the 48th Ohio. And now we will trace the history of the Regiment, through the long and tedious years of the war.
The every day duty of the Regiment was squad, company and battalion drill, with dress parade in the evening, besides regular guard and fatigue duty. On Sundays, at 9 o'clock A. M., the companies were drawn up in a line, and inspected by their respective Captains. After the inspection the first Sergeants read the "Articles of War," in which nearly every other section ended, "Any violator of said section shall suffer death, or such other punishment as by a court martial shall be inflicted."
After inspection the companies were dismissed until 11 o'clock A. M. when they were marched to the Colonel's quarters, where a sermon was preached by the Chaplain. With dress-parade in the evening, the Sabbath day duties were closed, excepting for those on guard.
Oct. 20th, we received our suits of blue, and on the day following our tents, and were instructed in pitching and striking tents. Oct. 28th, the citizens of Lynchburg and vicinity sent a large delegation, with well-filled baskets, and three beautiful regulation swords, and presented them to Capt. Frazee, Lieutenants Brown and Fields, Hon. A. D. Coombs making the presentation address, which was pronounced by all who heard it, truly eloquent and very appropriate for the occasion. The officers responded, by pledging themselves never to betray the confidence reposed in them by their friends. Remarks were also made by Gen. M. S. Wade, Commanding Officer of Camp Dennison, and Col. Sullivan.
Nov. 8th, we moved out of the old shanties into tents, to enable the carpenters to remove them and build new quarters. We remained in the tents until the latter part of the month, when we took possession of our new buildings. They were large and comfortable; 100 feet long by 22 feet wide, with three tiers of bunks, the full length, on each side, capable of accommodating 98 men, with a large, commodious kitchen in the rear, and a separate building for the use of the commissioned officers of each company. Two large wood-stoves were furnished each building for heating purposes, making very comfortable quarters for the winter.
Jan. 15th, the Paymaster arrived, and paid our Regiment up to the first of January, which settled the oft-disputed question whether we would ever get any pay for our services. All under five dollars was paid in coin, and all above that sum in U. S. demand notes, redeemable in coin. It is needless to add, that we never saw any more hard money during the war. While the money lasted, the sutler did a flourishing business on the cash basis, but it was not of long duration; for he was soon compelled to adopt the credit system again.
The fall we went to Camp Dennison was warm and dry, until late in the season, when it turned cold and very wet. This, with the heavy guard-duty to perform, produced considerable sickness. The latter part of January, from twenty-five to thirty men were on the sick list in each company, and the quarters had the appearance of a hospital. The general health did not improve much until the middle of February, although none of the cases proved fatal at the time. The close confinement to camp, and the strict discipline, made the Regiment very restless, and in the latter part of January recruiting had almost come to a stand-still. The companies that had their Complement of men were: companies A, Capt. Parker, Highland county; B, Capt. Warner, Delaware county; C, Capt. Frazee, Highland county; D, Capt. Elwood, Clinton county; E, Capt. Ireland, Miami county; F, Capt. Moats, Defiance county; G, Capt. Miller, Brown county; K, Capt. Peterson, Cincinnati; leaving H and I scarcely organized. But a call had been made for troops for the South-west, therefore the two companies were made up by transferring the surplus from those companies that had over eighty-two men.
The companies were lettered and occupied their positions in the Regiment in the rotation of the alphabet, and remained so during the service. It has been stated that but one other regiment from Ohio had been organized in the same manner.
The Regiment having its full number of companies, and the required number of men to entitle it to the full complement of field and staff officers, Governor Dennison made the following appointments: Peter J. Sullivan, Colonel; J. R. Parker, Lieut.-Col.; Jas. S. Wise, Major; M. F. Cary, Surgeon, A. A. Johnson, Ass't Surgeon; R. C. McGill, Adjutant; W. E. Brayman, Quartermaster; John F. Spence, Chaplain. Col. Sullivan appointed the following non-commissioned staff: H. C. Stewart, Quartermaster Serg't.; Ed. Conklin, Serg't. Major; Doctor Boone, Hospital Steward. At considerable expense, silver cornet instruments were purchased for the Band, which had been recruited for the Regiment.
Camp life was getting to be very monotonous and irksome, and the time seemed long to us, lying thus inactive in camp, while every train was loaded with troops going to the front, to engage in active service. Our ideas of war, then, were rather of a romantic order. A skirmish, we supposed, would be a recreation, and a battle a real enjoyment, and some were even worried for fear the war would be over before we arrived, and peace declared before we ever fired a gun. But these romantic notions passed away, in the active service which soon followed.