One Man’s Loss is Another Man’s Gain

Subtitled; Nothing is sacred, even a man’s underwear.

Sixteen year old Adam Furniss volunteered, along with 974 other Ohioan’s, and joined together to make up the 103rd O.V.I. The regiment was organized in Cleveland, Ohio in Aug. 1862. The unit served the year in Kentucky, then in 1863 moved to Tennessee and served there with the Army of the Cumberland. In May of 1864 they joined in the movement against Atlanta under Sherman’s command. The regiment lost heavily during this campaign. After Atlanta had fallen the unit’s effective force numbered 195 men. One of the missing was Adam Furniss who had been captured on Aug. 28, 1864 at Atlanta.

Private Furniss was soon exchanged and was returned to his unit in time to participate against Hood’s Army during his Tennessee Campaign in November. The badly depleted unit was serving as General Schofield’s headquarters guard. As the 103rd moved into Spring Hill it was briefly engaged against the enemy. The Union Army was moving north with urgency, trying to reach Nashville to join with the army there. The army’s train had halted at Spring Hill and rather than attempt to run it north through the confederate cavalry (Nathen Forrest’s) along the tracks it was decided to set it afire. The attempt was not a total success and some of it eventually fell into enemy hands. However, Adam Furniss was at the depot when the trains were fired. What is the saying; one man’s loss is another’s gain? Personal baggage from two newly arrived regiments, the 183rd Ohio and the 44th Missouri, were aboard the trains. Adam Furniss later recalled picking through some of the officers effects searching for undergarments because he was in need of some. Furniss said he filled a substantial satchel with underwear and was soon on his way. (1)

After Hood had been routed at Franklin and Nashville the tiny 103rd was sent first by ship to Cincinnati, then by rail to Washington, D.C., and then again by ship to Wilmington, North Carolina to join Sherman’s Carolina Campaign. Records suggest that 185 men mustered out at Cleveland, Ohio on June 22, 1865.

FURNISS

Adam Furniss was born 1846 and with his father William and Brother William (1839-1889) resided in North Royalton, Cuyahoga County, Ohio at the time of the Civil War. Corporal William Furniss also served in the war with the 7th O.V.I., Co. E, in fact he and his brother served near one another in the Tennessee Campaigns of ’63. William was transferred to the Invalid Corp in Jan. ’64. Adam and his brother both married “Granger” girls in North Royalton. Adam married Mary A. Granger (b. 12/11/1847 in North Royalton) in July of 1874. Their children were: William Arron b. May 16, 1875, d.1958, James Bird b. Nov. 13, 1879, d. 1918, Jessie Eliza b. July 12, 1877. William married Martha Granger (b.1842) in 1865 and they had three daughters; Josephine, Hortence, and Maud. Adam died in North Royalton in 1902. His brother had died earlier in Pennsylvania in 1889.

  1. Source Baptism of Fire by Eric Jacobson and Richard Rupp