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August 12, 2011

WRC in the Civil War - Charles Young’s Account of Company B, 85th Ohio Volunteer Infantry - Part 4

Last week’s account described Company B’s Camp Chase duties. Young’s account continues with preparations for their prisoner exchange assignment.

“In August, as the time for our discharge approached, a movement was set on foot to reorganize the regiment for State Service for three years for Guard-duty. Several of our officers, myself among the number were offered the command in case the plan succeeded, but declined it. Finally Lieut. Weber, who had graduated from college in 1861, accepted. It was not found possible to enlist a full regiment, but three or four companies were ultimately filled and organized into a battalion of which he was made Major (after our return from Vicksburg (I think)). Only half a dozen or so of the students went into it, as most of the undergraduates, as well as Professor Cutler and myself, felt in honor bound to return to the college when our enlistment expired.

“In August exchanges of prisoners were negotiated between the U. S. and the Confederates, and after a good deal of discussion Co. B was offered the chance to go as escort to the confederate prisoners at Camp Chase who were to be exchanged at Vicksburg. Although this would delay our discharge a few weeks we were glad to accept the offer, partly because it would give us a good trip after the monotonous grind of camp duty, and partly because it would save us from exposure to the draft which was then threatening.

“On August 26th we left camp 100 strong, the wanting numbers in our company being made up by details of about twenty men from other commands, (our numbers had been reduced by illness and consequent discharge, and by transfer of men to go into active service). We took 1024 prisoners (under parole), and started out with a train of 24 cars from Columbus for Cairo via Cincinnati and Centralia. At the latter place the R.R. agent undertook to be ugly, and to delay us by refusing to furnish us certain cars which were standing on the tracks. I had to send Lieut. Cutler to him with a squad of men, and tell him that if he did not do it immediately I would take possession of them by force, and would take him along with them under arrest and hand him over to the authorities at Cairo to be dealt with there, He wilted.”

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Carroll Cutler in 1861

Next week we will continue Captain Young’s account of Company B and the trip to Vicksburg to exchange Confederate and Union prisoners.

Posted by jmt3 at August 12, 2011 05:57 PM

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