Springfield, Ohio

History and Genealogy



Springfield in the War


From The History of Clark County, Ohio
Chicago: W.H. Beers & Co., 1881 - Page 476


By Oscar T. Martin

The loyal people of Springfield were intensely interested in the events which closed the year 1860. The campaign of that fall had been hotly contested. The successful party saw their chosen leaders elected, but observed the ominous mutterings which followed with great anxiety. The threats of disunion and the counter determinations of coercion pressaged a deadly struggle for the mastery. That cruel strife would be averted was the prayerful hope of all good citizens. But when State after State in the South adopted ordinances of secession which were followed by an appeal to arms, the citizens were ready for the conflict. The proclamation of President Lincoln for 75,000 volunteers immediately after the fall of Fort Sumter, met with a hearty response here. As soon as the proclamation was received a meeting of citizens was held in the city hall, at which a sub-committee was appointed to issue a call for a general mass meeting of the citizens of the city and county. Judge William White was President of this meeting, and Hon. J. K. Mower was Secretary. On the same day in the afternoon in pursuance of the call of the city hall was filled with an anxious and earnest crowd. There was an unanimous sentiment in favor of a hearty indorsement of the administration in its efforts to suppress the rebellion. Gen. Samson Mason having been called to preside over the meeting, read the proclamation of the President. It was followed by eloquent remarks from prominent gentlemen.

The following resolutions were adopted:

Resolved, That the determination of the Government to suppress insurrection, punish traitors and execute the laws, receives the hearty approval of the people of Clark County irrespective of party, and that they will sustain every effort to maintain the union with men, money and every means in their power.

Resolved, That a committee of five from the city and two from each of the townships of the county be appointed to devise and execute such measures as may be required to carry into effect the foregoing resolution.

The quota of volunteers from the city was rapidly filled. On Wednesday, April 17, the first company to depart for active service was the Springfield Zouaves, commanded by Capt. E. C. Mason. The second company was the Washington Artillery, commanded by Capt. J. C. Vanada, which left on April 22, and the third company was the Jeffersonian Guards, commanded by Capt. Philip Kreshner, which followed four days thereafter. We shall not attempt to give a detailed history of the enlistment of troops in Springfield, to number its volunteers or to follow the various companies and regiments in their marches and battles, as that is given in the comprehensive military history of the county, which includes that of the city, in this volume. It would be superfluous here as the subject has been exhausted in the history to which we refer. We shall but mention several features which have been there omitted.

There was a rapid enlistment from the city. volunteers were eager to rush to the front. In the four wards, up to August 29, 1862, the number of enlisted men were as follows: First Ward, 90; Second Ward, 105; Third Ward, 141; Fourth Ward, 139, making a total of 475. At this time the whole population of the above wards was as follows:

  Population Enrollment
First Ward 1,228 238
Second Ward 1,403 263
Third Ward 2,261 400
Fourth Ward 1,853 342
  —— ——
Totals 6,745 1,243

The care of those whom the defenders of their country's honor left behind, was gladly assumed by the citizens. Organized societies and commissions ministered to the poor and needy. Their charity was boundless. Committees were appointed to ascertain those who lacked food, fuel and clothing, and to supply their wants. The winter of 1863 was excessively cold, and had it not been for the organized assistance at hand many would have suffered from the rigors of that inclement season. A call was made to the generous farmers of the county to donate wood to the sufferers. So enthusiastic was the reply that it was determined to make a general delivery on a stated day. On the 31st day of December of that year, the farmers sent their teams to the city loaded with wood. A procession was formed which numbered 147 wagons, containing over two hundred cords of wood. Col. Peter Sintz acted as Grand Marshal, while Krapp's Band led the way. The line when closely packed was over ten squares in length. After the wood had been distributed among the families of the soldiers, a sumptuous dinner was given to the donors at Knaub's Hotel.

A "saw-buck-eye" brigade was also organized, which did valiant service in preparing the wood thus generously bestowed, into convenient size for consumption.

The ladies of Springfield were earnest in their ministrations to the soldier. The departure of a favored company or the return of a gallant band was followed and welcomed with good wishes and many greetings. The Soldiers' Aid Society was unceasing in its attention to the soldier boys. One of the most memorable events was the return of the Forty-fourth Ohio Volunteer Infantry, a favorite Clark County Regiment, on veteran furlough. The ladies prepared a royal banquet at the city hall, which had been handsomely decorated for the occasion. The regiment formed in line at the depot and marched through the principal streets to Market space, where a speech of welcome was delivered by Hon. Samuel Shellabarger, and responded to by Col. Gilbert, the much-respected Colonel of the regiment.

When the fall of the capital of the Southern Confederacy was announced, nowhere was the news received with more enthusiasm than in this city. Great preparations were made for a proper celebration of the event. All were eager for an occasion to give vent to their feelings of gratitude, at the prospect of the cessation of hostilities. The cannon at sunrise on Friday, April 14, 1865, spoke as on former occasions its Union sentiments. The church bells clanged merrily. Congratulatory greetings passed among friends and neighbors, business was generally suspended and the city put on its holiday attire. A grand parade was to be a part of the ceremonies of the morning, but, as the governor of Ohio had issued a proclamation appointing Friday as a day of thanksgiving, and requested religious meetings to be held on the morning of that day, it was decided to postpone the procession until 2 P.M. A union prayer meeting was held in the city hall at 8 o'clock in the evening, under the leadership of Rev. Dr. Joseph Clokey. At 2 o'clock the procession under the Marshalship of Lieut. Col. Welsh was formed. It was composed of the Masonic orders in fine regalia, Knight Templars in gorgeous costume, Odd Fellows and other secret societies, the students of Wittenberg College, fire department, Col. King's and Peter Sintz's cavalry command, a motley crowd in burlesque representing the remains of the Southern Confederacy. This troop was mounted on dilapidated horses, which would have shamed Rosinante, their persons were costumed with disguises which were ludicrous in their representations, and their appearance created such merriment on the route. After the procession had disbanded, a jollification meeting was had at the city hall, which was addressed by Gen. Samson Mason, Hon. Samuel Shellabarger and Judge R. B. Warden.

The general pleasure of the day was somewhat marred in the early morning by the premature explosion of a cannon, which shattered an arm of William Boyer, a member of the firing squad.