Surprisingly, Ohio was very important in the Civil War
Written by Sentinel-Tribune Staff
Thursday, 08 March 2012 10:02
(Editor's note: "Josh Franklin's Far Out Family Blog" is 10 chapters of Civil War history focusing on Ohio's role, written in a modern tone. Students, parents and teachers are invited to take the series a little further after reading it, and discuss the topics suggested below. The series is published through Ohio Newspapers in Education and was written by Steven Coburn-Griffis. The illustration is by Isaac Schumacher.)
August 25, 1863
I am in a fine frame of mind and never could I be more proud of the State of my birth. I do believe that without Ohio and Ohioans, this war would have already ended and ended for the worst. Everywhere I turn I see men from our State standing tall and taking a firm stand against the enemy. The very thought of men such as McClellan and Parrott give me strength in time of need, and there are, dear brother, such times.
This is a hard path we are on and I would not wish it upon another. Even so, it is the path that must be taken and we shall prevail.
Remember me to our Ma and tell Da that I do this both for and because of him.
I have to tell you that after reading this letter, I said, "Huh?" I mean, the Ohio I know really isn't all that special. Now don't go getting all mad. I'm as big a Buckeye fan as anyone. But "without Ohioans this war would have already ended"? I mean, seriously. Exaggerate much? So I talked to Mr. W. and to Mrs. Logsdon and it turns out that, yeah, Ohio and Ohioans really were major players in the War Between the States. In fact, Mr. W. said I should do a little research and pass it along. So here's what I know.
Ohio contributed over one hundred generals over the course of the war. I mean, sure, a lot of those guys were only made generals temporarily (they called them brevet generals). Even so, that's a lot of generals. And they weren't all brevets.
You already know that Ulysses S. Grant, who was basically the General of all Generals, was from Ohio. But so was General Philip Sheridan. Even though he was only 5 feet 5 inches tall, he and his cavalry were a big reason why Robert E. Lee finally surrendered. And then there was William Tecumseh Sherman. He pretty much handed President Lincoln his reelection when he attacked and took Atlanta. Ever heard of Sherman's March? This is that guy.
And it wasn't just about generals, either.
In 1863, the Secretary of War handed out the very first Medal of Honor to a man by the name of Jacob Wilson Parrott. Parrott was part of a bunch of men called Andrews' Raiders who were taking it to the Confederacy behind enemy lines.
They cut telegraph lines, stole trains, burned bridges and basically just really messed with anyone wearing a gray uniform. Andrews' Raiders eventually got caught and most of them were hanged, but six of them survived, including Parrott. And where do you think Parrott was from? Kenton, Ohio.
And then I found this quote from President Abraham Lincoln.
It seems that just before a major battle, Honest Abe had a habit of asking if there were going to be any Ohioans around.
When asked why he did such a thing, President Lincoln said, "Because I know that if there are many Ohio soldiers to be engaged, it is probable we will win the battle, for they can be relied upon in such an emergency."
Pretty cool, huh?
Chapter seven: questions and activities
Josh was surprised that Ohio contributed so much to the Union effort. Why do you think that is? Read through today's newspaper articles. How many include accomplishments made by Ohioans?
Synonyms are words that have similar meanings. What words in this chapter have synonyms?
Parrott's Congressional Medal of Honor is now on display in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda. Why is it appropriate for his medal to be displayed there?
Last Updated on Thursday, 08 March 2012 10:03