Capt. Cyrus Hussey
48th OVI (Lieut. Col. 192nd OVI)


Photo from the collection of Stephen Williams

 

by Stephen E. Williams

 

Capt. Cyrus Hussey of the 48th OVI who became Lieut. Col. Cyrus Hussey of the 192nd OVI late in the war is of special interest because he kept a careful diary, which recorded his day to day observations and feelings. Two volumes of this diary have survived. They give us an unvarnished picture both of Cyrus Hussey and of life in the 48th OVI during the years that they cover.

Cyrus Hussey was a hard working, scrupulously honest, able executive. This plus his elegant, legible, handwriting, essential in the days before typewriters, made him a sought-after staff officer. During his four years with the 48th OVI he served as acting adjutant of the regiment (8/18/62-9/5/62;10/26/62-11/25/62), adjutant of the Ft. Pickering Garrison (11/26/62-12/5/62), and court recorder at Ft. Pickering trials (9/16/62-10/18/62). He was also detached for duty as brigade Aide de Camp for Col. Landram (12/23/62-2/16/63), service as Provost Martial of Franklin, La. (10/10/63-12/18/63) and for service at the Draft Rendezvous in Columbus, Ohio (3/4/64-12/28/64) where he also at times served as acting adjutant. Between these staff assignments he served as 1st Sergeant (from 9/18/1861), 2nd Lieutenant (from 1/23/62), 1st Lieutenant (from 1/23/62) and finally captain (from 2/6/1863) of Company A of the 48th OVI. On 2/28/64 he reenlisted as a veteran in the 48th OVVI. He missed the Red River Expedition, capture and imprisonment at Camp Ford, Texas because he was detached and working at the Columbus, Ohio Draft Rendezvous. As a result of the merger of the 83rd and 48th OVI he was mustered out as a supernumerary officer (12/26/64). On 4/30/1865 Cyrus Hussey was appointed a Lieut. Col. in the 192nd OVI, the regiment he served with during the rest of the war. His service with this regiment was as the Lieut. Col. between March 10, 1865 and Sept. 1, 1865 when he mustered out with the regiment.

Before the war 22-year-old Cyrus Hussey was a teacher who lived near the Highland-Clinton County line in New Vienna. He was raised in the New Vienna area but had resided in Highland Co., Chillicothe, and Cincinnati before the war. In September, 1861 he was recruited in New Lexington (now Highland), Highland County, Ohio by a fellow teacher, Job Parker, into what would be mustered in 9/9/1862 as Company A of the 48th OVI. His military record states that he had a fair complexion, blue eyes, light hair and was 5 feet 9 1/4 inches tall.

His diary shows him to be a serious, humorless man, devoted to his wife and to his duties as an officer. He practiced algebra and grammar and read novels in his spare time and spoke disapprovingly in his diary of "gaming" by the troops.

His diary reveals that he was contemptuous of Col. Sullivan because he considered Sullivan to be dishonest and incompetent. It is likely that he encouraged Lieut. Col. Parker to bring charges against Sullivan and it is certain that he helped him copy them. Cyrus Hussey was also suspicious of anyone who spoke of the Union in a disloyal way. He refused to sign a recommendation for promotion of Corp. Mitkalf A. Bell (Co. F) to 2nd lieutenant because Bell had made disloyal statements. Hussey was progressive in his treatment of his wife, encouraging her to seek higher education in a day when few women were allowed in institutions of higher education. Cyrus Hussey was personally concerned with the men in his care, noting their comings and goings and showing genuine concern for their well being. He treated his black servants with condescending kindness, buying them clothes and paying them promptly. In his diary he placed the names of black servants in quotations while white men and women's names appear without quotation marks. But he never makes racist remarks or uses derogatory racial epithets, unlike many other northern soldiers.

A little over a year before he was recruited, Cyrus Hussey was a member of the Clear Creek Monthly Meeting of The Society of Friends (Quakers). When he was recruited he had been married to Rebecca A. Hodson Hussey for 21 months. Both Cyrus and Rebecca were descended from the early Quaker pioneers of the Highland/Clinton County border. Quaker records show that Rebecca Hodson was disowned by the Clear Creek Monthly Meeting for joining the Methodist Episcopal Church in 7/10/1858. In 8/11/1860 Cyrus was disowned as well for his 12/24/1859 marriage to Rebecca, who was no longer a Quaker and for joining the Methodist Episcopal Church himself. His enlistment in the army would also have been grounds for being disowned if he were still a member of the Society of Friends. While Cyrus Hussey was no longer a member of the Quakers his behavior still showed evidence of his upbringing. His pacifism was gone but his moral code and work ethic remained with him.

Cyrus Hussey was the youngest son of Stephen Hussey and Katharine Williams Hussey, Quakers whose parents emigrated to the New Vienna/Highland, Ohio area, from North Carolina about 1808. The county line borders the southern city limit of New Vienna, so it is not surprising that Cyrus Hussey listed himself as being born in Highland County, Ohio while other members of the family, who may have lived next-door, were from Clinton County. Of his ten siblings, Cyrus was the second youngest. His younger sister Phoebe, his oldest brother Joshua (Co. D, 48th OVI) and another brother William (Killed by Apache Indians 1/29/63) are mentioned in his diary as is Lutellus (Lute) Hussey (Co. C. 83rd OVI) who is not a brother but may be a cousin. The Hussey Family was an important one in the early history of New Vienna, Ohio.

As a member of the 192nd OVI. Lieut. Col. Cyrus Hussey served in the Shenandoah Valley at the end of the war. The "Official Roster of the Soldiers of the State of Ohio in the War of the Rebellion, 1861-1866" states that:

"This Regiment was organized at Camp Chase, O., March 9, 1865, to serve one year. The Regiment started for the field March 12, arriving at Halltown Va., near Harper's Ferry, March 16, and reported to General John R. Brooke, commanding Provisional Division. On the 31st of March the Division broke camp and marched through Charleston, encamping about one mile beyond. On the 3d of April the One Hundred and Ninety-second moved at daylight, under orders to relieve a regiment picketing the Shenandoah River for three or four miles above and below Kabeltown, and about three miles from the camp of the Division. April 4, under orders for concentration of troops at Winchester for movement upon Lynchburg, the line upon the river was abandoned, and the troops moved to Winchester via Berryville. The One Hundred and Ninety-second was stationed some time at Stevenson's Station, and afterward near Jorden Springs. It was then ordered to Reeds Hill, forty-six miles above Winchester, May 23d, at which place the Regiment encamped until ordered to be mustered out, except two companies, which were stationed at Harrisonburg, 25 miles above. The Regiment was mustered out Sept. 1, 1865, in accordance with orders from the War Department."

While serving with this regiment Hussey was involved in an incident in which he has been cast as the heavy in a story involving the execution by firing squad of several as yet unparoled confederate cavalrymen for stealing horses. Reading his diary will show a Cyrus Hussey more complex than the simple villain presented in the story.

Cyrus and Rebecca Hussey's marriage is a tragic romance. They were newly married December 4, 1859, probably against the wishes of Quaker parents, a few months before the first rumblings of war. Their first child, Florence Anna Hussey, was born April 19, 1861. Cyrus enlisted with Job Parker's Company on September 9, 1861, a decision that was to take him away from Rebecca for most of five years. On September 12, 1861 Rebecca and Cyrus Hussey's child died.

The efficient and organized Cyrus Hussey entered notes in his diary every day, during battles, long, grueling marches and during extended periods of boredom. The one exception to this is when Rebecca visited. Here stretches of days go by followed by some notes where he catches up. He longs for her letters and is completely devoted to his "dearest earthly treasure". They wrote frequently and he says "Oh how pleasant it is to peruse these messages of love from my Dear cottage home!"

On June 1st 1866 the man who left Rebecca as a 22-year-old 1st Sergt. returned as a 27-year-old Lieut. Col., the veteran of many battles. The two settled in Ohio's capital, Columbus. What Cyrus' vocation was during this period is unknown but Rebecca was not well. There would be no more children and on February 17th, 1870 Rebecca Hussey died of "consumption" (Tuberculosis) in that city. The widower, Cyrus, remained in Columbus until August 3, 1873 and then moved to Toledo where he would live the remainder of his life.

On June, 1, 1876 Cyrus Hussey married Frances Elizabeth Whittlesey in Toledo, Ohio. They had two sons, James Whittlesey Hussey (b. 5/16/1878) and Arthur Duncan Hussey (b. 3/5/1882).

A gray haired Cyrus Hussey was an agent for the Aerie Insurance Company in Toledo, Ohio when he applied for his military pension May 9, 1904. He would live 22 more years. In 1926 the old colonel who had survived unsafe steamers and the ravages of war and disease suffered a concussion in an automobile accident. He died October 23, 1926.

Information From:

Cyrus Hussey's military Record in the National Archive.
William W. Hinshaw. Encyclopedia of Quaker Genealogy, V.5 Ohio. 1946.
Cyrus Hussey's Diary. MSS-017 The Ward M. Canaday Center for Special Collections, University of Toledo Libraries.
Cyrus Hussey's Military and Pension Records in the National Archives.

Soldier's letter signed by Cy Hussey when
he was acting adjutant for the 48th OVI
(From the collection of Don Worth)


The Hussey Family
Submitted by Rea Williams

Cyrus Hussey's Father:
Stephen Hussey, Son of Christopher and Sarah Hussey, was born on 16 Aug 1793 in Cane Creek Monthly Meeting, Orange County, North Carolina and died on 28 Jul 1850 in Clear Creek MM, Clinton, Ohio.

Stephen married Katharine Williams, daughter of William Williams-[1900] and Phebe Mendenhall-[1901], on 24 Oct 1816 in Clear Creek MM, Clinton, Ohio.

Children from this marriage were:

1. Joshua Hussey was born on 20 May 1818 in Clear Creek MM, Clinton, Ohio. Joshua married Elizabeth Hodson on 6 Mar 1856 in Clear Creek MM, Clinton, Ohio.
2. Sarah Hussey was born on 26 Jun 1820 in Clear Creek MM, Clinton, Ohio.
3. William Hussey was born on 10 Nov 1822 in Clear Creek MM, Clinton, Ohio.
4. Christopher Hussey was born on 21 Dec 1824 in Clear Creek MM, Clinton, Ohio.
5. Robert Williams Hussey was born on 13 Feb 1827 in Clear Creek MM, Clinton, Ohio.
6. Joseph Hussey was born on 8 Aug 1829 in Clear Creek MM, Clinton, Ohio.
7. John Hussey was born on 13 Oct 1831 in Clear Creek MM, Clinton, Ohio.
8. Hiram Hussey was born on 26 Oct 1833 in Clear Creek MM, Clinton, Ohio and died on 19 Mar 1836 in Clear Creek MM, Clinton, Ohio.
9. Elizabeth Ann Hussey was born on M, Clinton, Ohio.
10. Cyrus Hussey was born on 4 Nov 1838 in Clear Creek MM, Clinton, Ohio. Cyrus married Rebbeca A. Hodson on 24 Dec 1859 in Highland County, Ohio.
11. Phebe Williams Hussey-[2107] was born on 7 Jan 1841 in Clear Creek MM, Clinton, Ohio.

 


Grave of Rebecca Hussey, Cyrus Hussey's wife

 

 

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2/14/2005