Beginning on Saturday,
October 31, 1885, the Lebanon Gazette, a bi-weekly newspaper published
in Lebanon, Ohio, published this 12 part series
|October 31, 1885||Introduction||Warren County in the War.|
|October 31, 1885||Part I||The First War Meeting in Lebanon.|
|November 7, 1885||Part II||More about the Early Days of the War - The Meeting in Washington Hall was not the First War Meeting in Lebanon - Important Addition to the History of Those Stirring Days.|
|November 14, 1885||Part III||April, 1861, in Waynesville - A Glorious Story of Patriotism - The Firing on Sumpter Arouses the Town - Flying the National Colors - A Cannon at the Top of a Union Pole - The Great Assemblage in front of Oscar J. Wright's.|
|November 21, 1885||Part IV||Up with the Flag - Judge George J. Smith Orders the National Colors Flung to the Breeze at the Courthouse. - A Roll of Honor - Company F, 12th O. V. I. - Taking the Boys to South Lebanon|
|November 28, 1885||Part V||First Papers From an Old Soldier - More To Follow - Military Companies in Lebanon Prior to the War - the Old Warren Guards - Very Interesting Local History - The Early War Days at South Lebanon - First Meeting in the Old School-House and a Speech by Lawrence Smith, of Lebanon.|
|December 5, 1885||Part VI||Second Papers from an Old Soldier - The "Lebanon Rifles" - They Offer Their Service to the Government. - Early War Days at Morrow - Company A, of the 12th Ohio - Off To Columbus and Down to Camp Dennison - Starting the First Campaign|
|December 12, 1885||Part VII||Some Corrections by Captain Sausser - Interesting Additional Items - The Early War Spirit in Maineville - Volunteers for Many Regiments - Hamilton Township Not Behind Other Parts of Warren County.|
|December 19, 1885||Part VIII||Third Papers from an Old Soldier - Recruiting and Muster in of Company A, 35th Ohio, With a Full List of Officers and Privates - Also Something of Company F, of the same Regiment - The Friends of the Cause at Lebanon - Facing the Realities of a Soldier's Life.|
|January 2, 1886||Part IX||Early Days at Harveysburg - Enlistment of Ex-Auditor Randall and History of the Recruiting Expedition of Captain Parshall.|
|January 9, 1886||Part X||A Complete List of the Officers and Privates of Company F, 12th O. V. I., As Organized for the Three Years' Service; A Queer Combination - Testaments and Liniment; The Old Sanitary Committee of the South Lebanon Pike.|
|January 16, 1886||Part XI||The Death of Jabez Turner, The First Man the County Lost in the Great Struggle as told by an Eye Witness.|
|January 30, 1886||Part XII||Life at Camp Dennison - Drilling and Preparing for the Battles the were to Follow - How the 12th Ohio Spent its Two Months of Probation.|
Gazette Printing Company, Proprietors.
OFFICE IN GAZETTE BUILDING, ON MULBERRY STREET.
SATURDAY, JANUARY 30, 1886.
WARREN COUNTY IN THE WAR.
LIFE AT CAMP DENNISON – DRILLING AND PREPARING FOR THE BATTLES THAT WERE TO FOLLOW – HOW THE 12TH OHIO SPENT ITS TWO MONTHS OF PROBATION.
When what became Company F of the 12th Ohio was organized at Lebanon, and Company A of the same regiment was forming at Morrow, it was so soon after the call of the President that Ohio had but one drilling ground, Camp Jackson, at Columbus. To this all the earlier companies were hurried as soon as raised, and after certain preliminaries, were organized into regiments by government officers. The readiness with which the men of Ohio responded to the call of their country soon filled Camp Jackson to overflowing. Troops were quartered in the Capitol and in the other public buildings at Columbus and even then the pressure became too great. It was evident that a new camp must be formed at once. The level plain in the valley of the Little Miami a few miles from Cincinnati, on the line of the Little Miami Railroad, offered peculiar advantages to the government engineers. It was selected at once, and what name for it could be more appropriate that that of Ohio’s governor? There was little or no discussion on the matter, and what was to be one of the most prominent drilling grounds of the state became Camp Dennison.
Large quantities of lumber were shipped to the new ground, and then the 3rd Ohio was ordered there. When they arrived they found nothing but the lumber piles, and had to make any sort of a shelter for the first night. The soldiers turned carpenters in the morning, and at once began the task of erecting barracks. These were small square buildings with bunks on all sides. Each one would accommodate from sixteen to twenty men, the apportionment being six to each company.
In the mean time, other regiments had been formed at Columbus and on May 3d, 1861, the 12th Ohio, with Companies A and F solidly from Warren County was organized and the men sworn into the service. A few days later came the orders to proceed at once to Camp Dennison to go into active drilling practice. The soldiers of the regiment, having heard of the experience of the 3rd, and knowing that they would be the second regiment at the new camp, quietly resolved to take time by the fore-lock, and, selecting one hundred of the best men in the regiment, most of them regular carpenters, they sent them on a day in advance to have quarters all prepared by the time the bulk of the regiment should arrive. The scheme did not prove a startling success. When they did come they found their carpenters had made a very good beginning, having all the buildings well started, but not a single one was ready for occupancy. Of course nothing could be done but to grin and make the best of it and their first night at their new home was not much more pleasant that that of the 3rd. In addition to their discomforts, it was aggravating to see the other fellows all fixed up.
But the next day put a new face on the matter. The boys finished their own barracks and were ready for anything. From that time on to the day of their departure was a period that every soldier looks back to as one of the most pleasant of all war days. Of course camp rules were established and everything moved like clock work. But this soon became a second nature to all. The companies were at once divided into messes and in spite of the bad pun, it may truthfully be said that many of the earlier attempts at cooking the meals were messes, and very pronounced ones, too.
Every one rose at the reveille, the revelee, with the accent on the last syllable, as they called. Then came breakfast, which sometimes consisted of regular army fare, except hard-tack, which did not come until they entered the field, and sometimes they would fairly feast when neighboring farmers brought truck in to the boys. After breakfast came the guard mount and then began the drilling for the day. The second sergeants, who had immediate charge of the men, would be taken out by the general drilling officer and taught the movements and tactics which were to compose the lesson for the day. Then these sergeants took the men of their own companies by squads and drilled them in what they themselves had just learned.
Within a very few weeks after the arrival of the 12th, four other regiments had come in. Their quarters made quite a town and during drilling hours, the camp seemed alive with squads of men diligently endeavoring to perfect themselves in the movements of war. With the exception of the dinner hour, nearly all the day was spent in active drilling. In the evenings, however, the boys, although expected to keep good order, were allowed to amuse themselves about as they pleased. And they pleased to do this in almost every imaginable way. They were like a lot of school boys freed from their studies. Checkers, chess, dominoes, euchre, poker and seven-up were popular games and the early evening hours were spent in this way. But there were always some spirits who could not endure such quiet and practical jokes were numerous and some of them exceedingly funny. Favorite seats were always dangerous until carefully examined for a lurking pin, and such things as these were of common occurrence.
But as much pleasure as any time of the day afforded was found later in the evening when the soldiers retired to their bunks. Stories, anecdotes and jokes were passed around, to the intense enjoyment of all concerned. Woe be to the man who was tired and wanted to sleep. Questions were fired at him from all sides and when they proved ineffectual, boots and shoes were resorted to as more striking arguments and if, by any chance these failed, the unfortunate would be “yanked” out of his bed to the floor. It is said that General Ward while a private at Camp Dennison, was one upon whom his mates took particular pleasure in teasing and that some very emphatic conversations, in which boots and shoes figured as an important feature, were frequently the result.
This is but an outline of life at Camp Dennison. Its idea is to recall to the recollections of the boys who were there some of the laughable or interesting events that occurred in the camp routine and if it does, will they not contribute them? Send them in in any form and they will be appreciated and cared for. The topic is a good one and there is an attraction to all of the first days of soldier life, which are spent on the drilling ground.
Arne H Trelvik
26 February 2012
This page created 26 February 2012 and last updated
26 February, 2012
© 2012 Arne H Trelvik All rights reserved