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Sapp, Durbin and McGrew and the 142nd Ohio National Guard in the Civil War


Muster Roll 142nd Ohio National Guard

Company H

Corporal Joshua Durbin

Corporal James McGrew

Private Samuel Durbin

Company K

Private Julius B. Sapp enlisted May 2, 1864

Private Solomon B. Sapp enlisted May 2, 1864

ONE HUNDRED AND FORTY SECOND O. N. G.

The incipient beginnings of the One Hundred and Forty-second Ohio National Guard, six companies of which were from Knox county, date as far back as April 11, 1863, when the legislature of Ohio passed the well known militia law, dividing the State and the different counties into militiary districts, for better and more perfect organization, and to facilitate the raising of troops.

After the organization of the militia in 1863, meetings were frequently and regularly held for drill, and on the first of May, 1864, when Governor Brough asked the services of the One Hundred and Forty-second regiment, it reported promptly, and was a well drilled and as fine looking body of men as went from Knox county during the war. Its field officers were—William C. Cooper, colonel; William Rogers, lieutenant colonel; William M. Young, major; Wilson N. King, surgeon; Jacob Stamp, assistant surgeon; Frederick D. Sturges, adjutant; Alexander H. Fritchey, quartermaster and William J. Trimble, chaplain.

The following extract from a letter written by a member of the regiment, gives a picture of the start. It is dated at Fort Lyon, Alexandria, Virginia, May 30, 1864:

We left Mt. Vernon on the morning of the eleventh, in open freight cars, and in a snow storm. We were all day reaching Columbus, arriving there at five o’clock and marching to Camp Chase, four miles from the city.

We met a cool reception here, as there was no preparation to receive us, and it was near midnight before wood, tents or rations were issued to the men, and more than one thought of warm suppers and good beds at home, but there was no grumbling. The next day we were made comfortable, but I must say that the first day was the roughest we have seen thus far.

On the thirteenth we were mustered into the service of the United States for one hundred days, and received orders to prepare three days rations, which consisted of salt meat and “hard tack.”

On the fourteenth we marched to Columbus, where we exchanged our arms for Springfield rifles, and at six P.M. we left for Wheeling, passing through Zanesville just at daylight and reaching the Ohio river at noon.

We did not notice any signs of war until we arrived at Cheat river, where on the top of a hill, perhaps three hundred feel high, we saw the flag of our country waving over a small fort, built to protect the bridge. From this place there was a strong guard at all important points; but it was not until we reached New creek that we saw what might be called an effective force. There is quite an imposing looking fort at this place. The next place was Piedmont, where the rebels just one week before destroyed the extensive works belonging to the railroad. The damage done was estimated at five hundred thousand dollars.

We reached Martinsburgh on the seventeenth and were detained two days on account of damage by high water to the bridge at Harper’s Ferry.

While at Martinsburgh we saw a train of wounded from Siegel’s army—it was a sickening sight. We arrived at Harper’s Ferry on the nineteenth, and crossed in a boat worked by ropes.

Leaving here at eight in the evening we arrived at Washington Saturday at ten A. M., having been just a week on the road from Columbus. They marched us to the Soldier’s Rest, where we were fed and started on our way to this place (Fort Lyon) which is a group efforts, thirteen miles from Washington, two from Alexandria and five from Mt. Yemen. The men were pretty well exhausted by the time they reached the fort. Fort Lyon is a very strong fortification, containing forty-two cannon and several mortars. The Tenth New York heavy artillery occupied these forts before we came. This splendid regiment of seventeen hundred men was sent to reinforce General Butler. Colonel Cooper was offered a brigadier general’s commission, and the command of the forts, but declined.

The regiment remained at Fort Lyon busily engaged in strengthening the fortifications and perfecting its drill, until June 5th, when orders were received to report to General Ambercrombie, at White House landing on the Pamunkey river. The regiment took the steamer at Alexandria June 7th, and arrived at White House on the ninth about midnight, and went into camp in the open field. The wounded from the battle of Cold Harbor, then in progress, were being brought in—a gloomy reception to inexperienced soldiers. Without rest the regiment, carrying six day’s rations, left all its baggage and marched (at four A. M.) to guard a supply-train through the Wilderness to General Grant’s front, near Cold Harbor, a distance of sixteen miles. Arriving there in the evening Colonel Cooper reported to General Meade, who ordered him to report his regiment to General Butler at Bermuda Hundred. This point was reached by water June I3th, where, without being permitted to land, it was conveyed, on transports, to Point of Rocks, about five miles below Petersburgh. Here it was landed and marched about six miles, to the extreme right of the National line.

Thinking to get a night’s rest, the tired soldiers lay down on their blankets; but just as they had lapsed into dreamy forgetfulness, the long roll sounded. Leaving its tents standing the regiment was marched three miles on double-quick, through a dense, dark pine forest, filled with stumps and underbrush over which the men often stumbled and fell.

The point to be defended was reached and the men immediately placed in rifle-pits, in which exposed position they passed about a week. They were then detailed to destroy a line of earthworks from which the enemy had been driven. While engaged in this duty they were resisted by the rebels; but the regiment, with the aid of other troops on the line, not only completed the work of destruction, but drove the rebels from the field.

Hardly a day passed without the regiment or detachments from it being detailed for picket or fatigue duty. At one time the whole regiment was detailed to build a fort at Turkey Bend, on James river, which duty it performed with credit and dispatch, although incessantly annoyed by shells from a hostile battery.

On the nineteenth of August it received orders to repair to Washington city, as its term of service had about expired. It accordingly embarked on transports at Bermuda Hundred, and reached Washington on the twenty-first. Thence it went by rail to Camp Chase, Ohio, and was there mustered out of the service of the United States September 2, 1864. The regiment arrived in Mt. Vernon September 3d.

Out of an aggregate strength of eight hundred and forty-five men the regiment lost fifty, mostly from disease incident to camp life, excessive fatigue and exposure.

starting page 338
History of Knox County Ohio, Its Past and Present, N.N. Hill, Jr, 1881, AA Graham & Co, Mt Vernon, Ohio

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