Tuesday, June 25, 2019

The Colonels of Greenwood - Michael Clarkson Ryan


Michael Clarkson Ryan's Civil War career is the least impressive of the colonels buried at Greenwood, but his civilian career was rather notable.  Born in April, 1820 in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, his family moved to Hamilton in 1832.  Ryan graduated from Miami University in 1839, and then Cincinnati Law School in 1842.  He was both a newspaper editor and a lawyer, and was a founding member of Beta Theta Pi fraternity while at Miami.  He also served as the Butler County Prosecuting Attorney from 1848 to 1852 and Clerk of Courts 1852 to 1858 .  

Ryan was commissioned at the colonel of the 50th Ohio but before the regiment was able to be mustered in died of illness on October 23rd, 1861.  The 50th did not complete its organization until the summer of 1862.

Ryan is buried in the Hill Section, Lot 446.


Monday, June 24, 2019

The Colonels of Greenwood - Thomas Moore

Thomas Moore was born in Canada on July 27th, 1822.  He attended Miami University, was a lawyer, and served in the Ohio Senate from 1860 to 1862.

Moore became colonel of the 167th Ohio Infantry (a one hundred days regiment) on May 16th, 1864 and was honorably mustered out on September 8th.  The 167th served in West Virginia, guarding supply trains.

Moore passed away two days after his seventieth birthday on July 29th, 1892,  He is buried in the Hill Section, Lot 400.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

The Colonels of Greenwood - John Minor Millikin

John Minor Millikin, Jr. (he used Minor as his first name) was born on July 9th, 1834, in Hamilton, Ohio.  His father was a successful farmer in Butler County, having some notoriety with breeding Poland hogs and serving as the President of the State Board of Agriculture and as an attorney.  Minor attended Hanover College in Indiana for two years, then moved on to Miami University in 1852 where he became friends with Whitelaw Reid and also became noted for his speaking ability and original writing, being a prominent member of the Erodelphian Society.  After Miami Minor went to Harvard Law School. 

Returning to Cincinnati in 1855, he married Mary Mollyneaux of Oxford, and the couple spent a twelve month honeymoon in Europe.  Returning to the United States, Millikin purchased the Hamilton Intelligencer, a Republican newspaper, and served as editor for two years.  After disposing the newsletter he farmed near his father's property.  

When the Civil War broke out, his name and his horsemanship led Millikin to join Captain Burdsall’s Independent Cincinnati Company of cavalry, where Millikin provided funds to purchase twenty-four horses.  Millikin was at first sergeant, then lieutenant, and campaigned in (West) Virginia.  He received an enforcement from his men as being the best of the leaders of the unit, and was appointed as major for the 1st Ohio Cavalry, a three year regiment.

While serving in the 1st, Millikin took the bold and noble step to ask the colonel of the regiment, Owens Perkins Ransom, to resign his commission.  This was not a move to take over the regiment on Millikin's part, but a friendly attempt to have Ransom understand that his drinking ways were not productive for the regiment's conduct.  Ransom took the advice of his friend, and did resign his colonelcy. 

Ironically, Millikin received the promotion to colonel of the 1st on January 11th, 1862, which caused a stir among the officers of the regiment due to Millikin's age and rank.  One of those complaining was the brother of the governor of the State of Ohio.  Millikin was discharged on March 15th, due to an adverse report by a board of examination, but was reinstated by President Lincoln on June 6th after Lincoln declared the proceedings of the board void.  This led to the resignation of a few officers, including the governor's brother.  During the time of Millikin's discharge from the regiment, he served on George H. Thomas's staff.

At Stones River on the morning of December 31st, Millikin showed his personal bravery and understanding of a tactical situation when his regiment was ordered to break up attacks of Confederate cavalry attempting to move into the Federal rear.  In an effort to protect a wagon train, Millikin swung his regiment about in column of fours and ordered a charge against a superior force, which now included Confederate infantry and artillery.  Millikin was at the forefront of the charge, and found himself and a small group of the 1st cut of from the remainder of the regiment.  In parrying with a group of assailants, Millikin was shot in the neck with a revolver, which killed him.  The rest of the regiment charged into the melee in order to retrieve Millikin's body.  Upon learning of Millikin's death, Thomas wrote a letter of condolence to Millikin's parents.

I do not yet have the details on Millikin's funeral in Hamilton, but based on Millikin's family standing, it was most likely a large affair, similar to William H. Lytle's in Cincinnati, in which the citizens of Hamilton would have turned out in large numbers as the funeral procession made its way to the cemetery.  It is difficult to speculate Millikin's future career, both during the Civil War and his civilian life after the war, but his is an interesting story and the potential seemed to be limitless for this man.

Millikin is buried in the Millikin Section, between Lots 185 and 205.

Saturday, June 22, 2019

The Colonels of Greenwood - Lewis D. Campbell

Lewis Davis Campbell was born August 11th, 1811, in Franklin, Ohio.  Like many officers of the Civil War, his occupation was lawyer.  Prior to the war he served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1849 to 1858, and would serve in the same capacity after the war from 1871-1873.  He was appointed U.S. Minister to Mexico from 1866-1867.

Campbell's brother-in-was was Colonel Robert Reily of the 75th Ohio.  Campbell was appointed colonel of the 69th Ohio on October 2nd, 1861, but would resign on August 9th, 1862 after facing charges of "Drunkenness and Conduct Unbecoming an Officer and a Gentleman While on Duty", another commonality among officers during the Civil War.  These charges, though unproven, caused Campbell to write of his resignation "the unfriendly relations and incompatibility of feeling which subsist between some of the officers and myself...the constant strain on my physical and intellectual energies for the last nine months in recruiting the regiment and endeavoring to make it effective."

The 69th had been raised in southwestern Ohio, organized in Hamilton and Camp Chase, and guarded railroads in Tennessee until seeing its first major action at Stones River.  William B. Cassilly would take over as colonel of the 69th after Campbell's resignation.

Campbell would pass away on November 26th, 1882 in Hamilton.  He is buried in the Hill Section, Lot 468.


Thursday, June 20, 2019

Greenwood Cemetery

I am working to become a docent at Spring Grove, hoping to lead some Civil War tours there that focus on the colonels and some generals and other Civil War persons that are buried within the grounds.  I also am approaching Greenwood Cemetery, in Hamilton, Ohio, about leading or helping with a history tour there.  There are a couple of notable men buried there, Brigadier General Ferdinand Van Derveer and Colonel John Minor Millikin.  I'll provide more details on these two men in future posts, but the former was the colonel of the 35th Ohio, and later led "Cumberland's Iron Brigade" at Chickamauga, where the brigade as a whole had their most intense action.  The latter was colonel of the 1st Ohio Cavalry and was killed at Stones River.  There are also numerous other Civil War soldiers buried at Greenwood, and over the coming months I hope to delve into some of their stories.  More on this to come!

Monday, June 3, 2019

American Battlefield Trust Annual Conference

I spent a lovely five days participating in the annual conference of the American Battlefield Trust.  It was an amazing time, from the talks, to tours, to meals, and to getting to know a lot of new faces and seeing a few folks I have met over the years.  My Cynthiana tour went well I believe, and I enjoyed getting to read a few first person accounts during the Richmond tour, which saw the local association providing an excellent pot luck lunch during the day.  I also got a chance to get over the Camp Nelson, one of the newest National Park Service sites.

The major of Cynthiana, the staff at the historical museum, and the folks from the Episcopal Church all provided a small town welcome.  My friend Bill Penn was able to sell some copies of his book during our stop at the museum.

I am already planning to attend the Color Bearer event in Savannah, as well as the annual conference in Virginia next year.



Sunday, June 2, 2019

The Colonels of Spring Grove - Crafts James Wright

Crafts James Wright served as the colonel of the 13th Missouri Infantry, effective August 3rd, 1861.  He was nominated as a brigadier general on May 22nd, 1862, but the nomination was tabled by the U.S. Senate and Wright remained a colonel.  The 13th Missouri changed its designation to the 22nd Ohio on July 7th, 1862.  Wright will go on to command a brigade in the Army of West Tennessee.  U.S. Grant will endorse a recommendation for Wright's discharge on August 10th, 1862 for insubordination.  Grant will write "From the day Col. Wright first reported to me for duty, to the present time, he has been the cause of more complaints from his immediate commanders than any six officers of this command.  He has constantly raised the question of rank with those immediately over him...and he is constantly raising points and occupying the time of his superior officers with a correspondence, useless to the service, and to some extent insubordinate.  An examination board recommended that he be discharged on account of physical disability having slept in the rain and mud the night of April 6th at Shiloh.

Wright was born on July 13th, 1808 in Troy, New York.  He graduated from West Point, Class of 1828.  He was a lawyer, newspaper editor, and a journalist.  He resided in Glendale, a Cincinnati suburb, before the war, and lived in Chicago 1875-83.  He died on July 22nd, 1883 in Chicago, and is buried in Section 84, Lot 7.

This concludes the Colonels at Spring Grove series of posts.

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