Death Follows the Battles

Dedicated to Pvt. James C. Dobie, 183rd O.V.I. Co. A

James C. Dobie was born in Virginia in 1814. He was the son of James Dobie (1785-1856) and Hetta Brannin (1785 – 1847). He married Pricilla Fisher in 1843 in Union County, Ohio. They had seven children; Elisabeth, Emeline, Oliver, James, Sarah, Olive, and Oscar. James died January 22, 1865.


The Battles of Franklin and Nashville in late November and mid-December of 1864 recorded 479 Union Army deaths; official

A personal story first; while not a welcomed event, our immediate family experienced a devastating Florida hurricane in 2004; Hurricane Charley. What that event taught, besides the power of Mother Nature, is that officially means very little. Deaths on “that” day in our family; zero. Deaths in our family that followed the storm, and that we feel were a result of it; two. Were the cause’s stress, worry, the result of losing a home, or other burdens placed upon them by that outside force? Those were not on any medical reports; but we knew, we could see the sadness in their eyes.

Four Hundred Seventy-Nine, plus how many more? Elsewhere on this web-site you’ll note that I have identified ninety-two deaths while in service; in the 183rd Ohio alone. Other than those that died on the fields of battle, how many of the rest can be directly attributed to those battlefields?

Most likely James C. Dobie first began his army service with the 81st battalion of the Ohio National Guard. In May of 1864 over 35,000 Ohio Guardsmen were federalized and organized into regiments for 100 days service. James Dodie was assigned to the 156th Ohio, Company G at Camp Dennison near Cincinnati. On May 20th seven companies proceeded to Cincinnati, where they performed guard duty. Cos. G, I and K remained at Camp Dennison on guard and patrol duty until Morgan appeared in the vicinity of Cynthiana, Ky., when they were sent to Falmouth, Ky. The seven companies remained on duty at Cincinnati until July 18th, when the entire regiment was brought together at Covington and moved to Paris, Ky. It was soon ordered to Cumberland Md., arriving on July 31st, and went into camp near that city. On Aug. 1st it had an engagement with the enemy near Falck’s Mills, with slight loss. It was mustered out on September 1, 1864.

Immediately, James volunteered for the 176th O.V.I. Most likely, before he could travel anywhere with his new regiment, he was transferred to the 183rd O.V.I which was being organized there in Columbus and in Cincinnati. He was now part of the first company formed, Co. A.

To follow James’s journey through Tennessee see the History of the 183rd on this site. From Columbus until the end of the Battle of Nashville he followed the rest of the regiment. It is shortly after Nashville that he becomes a different kind of statistic, one that is just as heroic as the official ones, and one that may have carried more suffering.

After the two battles the 183rd assisted most of the army chasing Hood’s Rebels south into Alabama. The 183rd was held at Columbia, SC and went into camp. They were back where they began their Tennessee journey. They spent Christmas in camp. Within a couple days they began to prepare for new duties in the east. They boarded ships headed for Cincinnati and then on to railcars to Washington D.C. James never boarded the railcars.

James’s family says records show he became sick after Christmas, maybe December 27th. Disease, dysentery, and infections from wounds was a fate suffered by many during the war. They were present before and after battles. He was moved to Camp Dennison’s hospital when they arrived and died of disease January 22, 1865. He was buried at the camp in Waldschmidt Cemetery.


Waldschmidt Cemetery is named after Christian Waldschmidt from Lancaster, PA, a Revolutionary War Soldier, who buried there. It is one of the most historic spots in Little Miami River Valley. The entire site of the village before the Civil War comprised of 160 acres owned by Nimrod Price. It was selected by General Scott as the location of an army hospital and at the outbreak of the Civil War. There were 349 Union soldiers who died in the hospital buried there, On July 4, 1869, they were all moved to Spring Grove Cemetery in Cincinnati. James is in Sec. 21, Lot C, Grave #749 (#73 in Lot C).

Permission to use photographs; Donald Cummins






The Sultana Disaster – Death on the Big River

The SS Sultana explosion and sinking in the Mississippi River on April 27, 1865 is the worst maritime disaster in United States history. This brief overview of the event is written and published to try make sure that the men of the 175th Ohio and 183rd Ohio who died, or somehow survived this terrible event, are honored. The tragic events of that day and the days leading up to it are largely forgotten today. That in itself is a bigger tragedy.

 The SS Sultana was a steamboat built in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1863. It was the most modern of its type and was registered to carry 376 passengers and a crew of 85. It was intended for the lower Mississippi cotton trade.  Union POW’s, released from confederate prisons like Andersonville and Cahaba, were gathering in Vicksburg, MS to be transported by steamboats to Cincinnati and other ports to return to their Midwestern homes. The government paid ship captains $5.00 per man, some of that paid back to officers in charge of the transportation as bribes to assure that the ship would be filled.

Late in April, 1865 the Sultana left New Orleans and made its stop at Vicksburg. Hasty repairs were made there on a troublesome boiler rather than take a couple days to replace it. Delaying the ship would lose the last load of troops and POW’s to leave post there for this ship’s captain.  Between 1800 and 2000 gaunt, tired men, who had survived disease, poor housing, and malnutrition, were jammed aboard, in addition to passengers and troops.

The ship slowly made its way north and stopped briefly in Memphis, TN. After unloading some cargo and passengers it left port and struggled north against strong currents in a flooded Mississippi. It got seven miles when the hastily repaired boiler gave out. That boiler and two others exploded, the ship began to burn and smoke stacks collapsed onto the decks and eventually the ship sank into the muddy bottom.  No definite count of the killed was possible because there was no compete list of the number of POW’s aboard, but it is estimated that 1700 died. The official count is 1547.

Why would such a disaster be scarcely remembered today? In part, because the story was not well covered in the news of the day. It was regulated to back pages. April 1865 – Robert E. Lee surrendered; Lincoln assassinated; Booth caught; Jeff Davis caught; War over – northern newspapers “rejoiced.”

Before ending, a statistic and thought; The Sultana 260’ long, 1547 dead, the Titanic 882’ long 1517 dead. Passengers are the precious cargo in any disaster like these, but for 1700 POW’s we can all agree; they deserved a better fate. Many of the dead were interred in the Memphis National Cemetery.

Last known picture - Sultana

SS Sultana from Library of Congress

The following men perished April 27, 1864 when the SS Sultana exploded in the Mississippi River seven miles north of Memphis, Tennessee:

Badgeley (Badgley), Benton, age 39, 175th O.V.I. Co. G Pvt. captured at Blockhouse #14, held at and paroled from Cahaba Prison

Bahn, John was 29 years old, 183rd O.V.I. Co. H, captured at Franklin

Barnes, Edward, age 18, 175th O.V.I. Co. C Drummer, captured at Thompson’s Station Nov. 29, 1864, held at and paroled from Cahaba Prison

Barrere, William, age 28, 175th O.V.I. Co. G 2nd Lt., captured at Blockhouse #14, held at Andersonville Prison, buried at Hillsboro Cemetery, Ohio.

Baumgardner, W.J. (possibly N.J. Baumgardner), 30 years old, 183rd O.V.I. Co. K, was captured near Spring Hill

Bayne, James, age 19, 175th O.V.I. Co. D Pvt. captured at Blockhouse #16 on Nov. 24, 1864

Bercaw, Norman, age 24, 175th O.V.I. Co. G Pvt. Captured at Blockhouse #14

Boyd, George W., age 19 175th O.V.I. Co .G Pvt., captured at Blockhouse #14

Carroll, William, age 18, 175th O.V.I. Co. D Pvt. captured at Blockhouse #16 on Nov. 24, held at and paroled from Cahaba Prison, suffered from Typhoid Fever

Gray, Thomas J., age 18, 175th O.V.I. Co. E Pvt. captured at Blockhouse #15, confined at Andersonville

Getterman, John (Gutterman, others), 19 years old, 183rd O.V.I. Co. F, reported missing, but possibly captured at Franklin. Service records state that he perished in the Sultana explosion. The spelling of his name is inconsistent at best among various sources

Gunther, John was 18 years old, 183rd O.V.I. Co. E, musician, captured at Franklin and imprisoned at Cahaba

Hendrixon (Hendrickson), George W., age 24, 175th O.V.I. Co. E Pvt. captured at Franklin

Holmes, Samuel A., age 28, 175th O.V.I. Co. D Pvt. captured at Blockhouse #16

Hudson, James, age 23, 175th O.V.I. Co. G Pvt. captured at Blockhouse #14, confined at Andersonville

McCoy, William Henry, age 22, 175th O.V.I. Co. F Capt., captured at Thompson’s Station Nov. 29 confined at Andersonville

Meeker, Timothy, age 42, 175th O.V.I. Co. E Pvt. captured near Columbia, TN and was confined at Cahaba.  He is buried at Memphis Nat’l Cemetery, TN

Morris, Stacy, age 34, 175th O.V.I. Co. G Pvt. captured at Blockhouse #14

Myers, William O., age 20, 175th O.V.I. Co. D Pvt. captured at Franklin

Oliver, Thomas, 18 years old, 183rd O.V.I. Co. K, captured at Franklin and imprisoned at Andersonville

Rice, Martin L., age 29, 175th O.V.I. Co. A Pvt.

Richmond, William, age 24, 175th O.V.I. Co. D Pvt. captured at Blockhouse #16

Schneider, Adam (Adam Snyder in the 1860 census and also Adam Snider elsewhere) was 44 years old, 183rd O.V.I Co. C, captured at Franklin and imprisoned at Cahaba

Shelton, William, age 29, 175th O.V.I. Co. D Pvt. captured at Blockhouse #16

Smith, Henry, age 19, 175th O.V.I. Co. I Pvt. captured at Franklin, confined at Cahaba

Staton (Stayton), George W., age 21, 175th O.V.I. Co. E Pvt. captured near Columbia Nov 29, 1864, confined at Cahaba

Van Eman, Matthew T., age 22, 175th O.V.I. Co. G Sgt., captured at Blockhouse #14. He is buried at Maple Grove Cemetery, Leavenworth County, KS

Zehfuss, Gustav was 30 years old, 183rd O.V.I. Co. H, captured at Franklin and imprisoned at Cahaba

The following were aboard but survived the disaster, likely able to jump clear of the dangers aboard ship and finding something to cling to. They may have floated away and were rescued by ships from Memphis that came when they heard the explosion and saw the fire, or were able to float to shore.

Anderson, John, age 18, 175th O.V.I. Co. C, captured at Franklin

Conrad, Michael, age 26, 183rd O.V. I. Co. C

Lemons, Nathan, age 19, 175th O.V.I. Co. G

Miller, Joseph, age 34, 183rd O.V.I. Co. D Sgt.

Minier, Darius, age 24, 183rd O.V.I. Co. G, captured at Franklin

Moore, James, age 24, 175th O.V.I. Co. A captured at Franklin

Payler, George W., age 29, 183rd O.V.I. Co. E Cpl., is listed as Taylor on the roster and is said to have died at Franklin. Apparently he was captured there. He died Feb. 8, 1912, buried at Dayton National Cemetery Plot 1,1,21

Rohland, Peter, age 40, 183rd O.V.I. Co. C

Sources: Wikipidia, Baptism of Fire by Eric Jacobson, and

The latter is the story of a survivor, Emanuel Yeisley, 76th O.V.I. Co. G and contains lots of detail.



Battle Of Franklin Overview and (Ohio) Order of Battle

Battle of Franklin Overview and

Ohio’s Regimental Organization

November 30, 1864

Major General John McAllister Schofield, Commanding

The Order of Battle at Franklin comprised the 4th Army Corps commanded by Brig. Gen. David Stanley, the 23rd Army Corps commanded by Maj. Gen. John M. Schofield (on Nov. 30,1864 by Jacob J. Cox). Ohio’s regiments are charted here with a very brief description of their involvement that day.

As discussed elsewhere on these pages the Battle of Franklin was a significant event in our history. Not to take away from the battles elsewhere and the casualties they caused, of all the events that took place in November and December of 1864 in middle-Tennessee it was by far the most important. Earlier conflicts were minor by comparison and the Battle of Nashville in mid-December was far less the event that it would have been if Hood’s Army had not been so severely defeated at Franklin. The organizational charts at other events would only be slightly different so I’ve focused here on Franklin.

Looking at a map of the battlefield at Franklin you would see a mile-wide Union front extending from Carter’s Creek Pike to the west and the Harpeth River to the east. Coming directly up the center is Columbia Pike. Artillery was posted on top of a large hill a couple miles to the north at Fort Granger. and at various place along the front and to the rear.

A simplistic summary of events might say that for the most part action to the east of the center was a bloody massacre of Confederate troops caught in the trees and Union works and who therefore would be unable to cause great damage upon their enemy. To the far west, where the 45th and 51st Ohio regiments were assigned, the Union controlled late arriving Confederate troops. However, along that western front, toward the center, a break-through occurred where Moore’s Second Brigade was assigned, promoting heavy fighting, some hand to hand, with heavy casualties on both sides. Ohio’s 111th , 118th , and two companies from the 183rd  were assigned in this area. It was also at this location that the rest of the 183rd Ohio came forward from their reserve position and assisted the units there to retake the lines.

Two companies of the 101st Ohio were also assigned to the main works near Moore. The other eight were in reserve and on orders came forward into the fight there. As far as I can ascertain the 90th Ohio remained in reserve.

The summary would go on to say that overall the worst fighting took place at the center. Artillery and Union troops at the main line’s works were unable to fire upon the charging Confederate Army because their own, Wagner’s second and third brigades, were retreating from the fields in front directly into their line of fire. As Wagner’s men crossed the line, so did the enemy. The most ferocious fighting of the battle was in this area. Troops in reserve from Kentucky, Missouri, and Ohio’s 175th, were able to come forward and help the 50th Ohio, 100th Ohio, 104th Ohio and others retake their collapsed line. Coming forward into the fray with the reserve units was Opdyke’s Brigade with the 125th Ohio. They had been resting beyond the reserve line and were brought forward by their commander when retreating Union troops passed by them thus alerting them to the bad situation at hand.

The following regiments were among Wagner’s retreating troops and certainly after reaching the safety of their line joined in the melee at the center; 26th, 64th, 65th and 97th Ohio. The 13th and 19th Ohio were sent north to the crossing of the Harpeth River to guard against and enemy crossing at the ford.

My battle sources make no reference to the 41st, 49th, 71st, and 124th Ohio, so I must assume they were held in reserve and assigned duties somewhere nearby. For instance, the 15th Ohio was held in reserve at Fort Granger and after the battle moved down to the Harpeth River to cover the Army’s withdrawal.

 The 93rd Ohio and the 103rd Ohio had been ordered to the rear to serve as guard for the 23rd Army Corps headquarters train and to assist with the ordinance trains.

The 23rd Army Artillery units were in the following areas; Two guns of the 1st Battery A were in the rear on Columbia Pike. The 1st Battery D was at Fort Granger. 1st Battery G was on the far left near the Harpeth River. The 6th Battery Ohio Light was split; on the main works east of center and on the far left near the river. The 20th Battery was just to the west of center with two guns of the 1st Battery A at the break-through and they were instrumental in the recovery of the lines there.

Twenty-Third Army Corps

Brigadier General JACOB D. COX


Brigadier General THOMAS H. RUGER

Second Brigade


111th Ohio, Lieut. Col. Isaac R. Sherwood

118th Ohio, Maj. Edgar Sowers

Third Brigade


50th Ohio, Lieut. Col. Hamilton S. Gillespie

183d Ohio, Col. George W. Hoge


Brig. Gen. JACOB D. COX

Brig. Gen. James William Reilly (on Nov. 30, 1864) 

First Brigade


100th Ohio, Lt. Col. Edwin L. Hayes

104th Ohio, Col. Oscar W. Sterl

175th Ohio, Lieut. Col. Daniel McCoy

Second Brigade.


103rd Ohio, Capt. Henry S. Pickands


Ohio Light, 6th Battery

Ohio Light, 20th Battery

Ohio Light, 1st Battery A

Ohio Light, 1st Battery D

Ohio Light, 1st Battery G

Fourth Army Corps

Major General DAVID S. STANLEY



First Brigade


90th Ohio Lt. Col. Isaac Kirby

101st Ohio Lt. Col. Bedan McDonald

Second Brigade

40th Ohio (6 companies) Lt. Col. JAMES WATSON

45th Ohio   Lt. Col. John Humphrey

51st Ohio Lt. Col. Charles Watson


Brigadier General GEORGE DAY WAGNER

First Brigade


125th Ohio Cpt. Edward Bates

Second Brigade


26th Ohio Cpt. William Clark

97th Ohio Lt. Col. Milton Barnes

Third Brigade


64th Ohio Lt. Col. Robert Brown

65th Ohio Maj. Orlow Smith


Brigadier General THOMAS J. WOOD

First Brigade


15th Ohio Col. Frank Askew

49th Ohio Maj. Luther Strong

Second Brigade


41st Ohio Lt. Col. Robert Kimberly

71st Ohio Col. Henry McConnell

93rd Ohio Lt. Col. Daniel Bowen

124th Ohio Lt. Col. James Pickands

Third Brigade

Brigadier General SAMUEL BEATTY

13th Ohio Maj. Joseph Snider

19th Ohio Henry Stratton


“for Cause for Country” and “Baptism of Fire” written by Eric Jacobson and Richard Rupp

Placement of the 93rd Ohio from “Ohio in the Civil War”, posted by William G. Schmidt

PLacement of the 15th Ohio from “Ohio in the Civil War” posted by Bob Bundy.2001











Their place in history; the 44th Missouri, 175th OVI, and the 183rd OVI

Until recently these two Ohio regiments, along with the 44th Missouri, served their country in the Civil War largely unknown. There are many reasons for that, like how many died, where they served, who their commanders were, and who among them did or didn’t promote their cause.

What, to me, makes history so compelling is that it is never still or silent. It speaks to us all the time if we are willing to listen for it. Eric Jacobson and Richard Rupp listened, and then spoke to us through their book Baptism by Fire. The three units are no longer unknown and their place in history has been recorded. They are carried along with the Civil War history of Tennessee and its importance in that conflict – no less important than the histories of Virginia, Massachusetts and other great states in our nation.

“The cruel joke of time is to forget or be forgotten. The Ohio and Missouri troops who endured their fiery baptism at Franklin were not lost to time in the short term, only the passage of many years did that. But their legacy was cemented on that fateful battlefield that dark November night. The echoes of those men, some of whom were just boys, still has an indelible power today. Their story never went away, it just needed to be remembered” – Eric Jacobson  

Tennessee’s Historical places and events, among them Shiloh, Stone’s River, and Missionary Ridge are joined by the events and places of November and December of 1864; the Battles of Columbia, Spring Hill, Franklin and Nashville. They were the “fiery baptism” these very green inexperienced soldiers endured. It is their place in history.