Archive for January, 2011

Kennesaw Mt., June 27, 1864

Posted in Atlanta Campaign with tags , , on January 30, 2011 by 40thindiana

Louis Prang's painting of Union troops assaulting Kennesaw Mt.

The Soldier of Indiana In The War For The Union Vol. 2″; Author Catharine Merrill; Published Merrill and Company 1889.

page 719,  account from unknown diary

June 27 Newton’s and Davis’ divisions, and a brigade from each of Logan’s divisions, made an assault at two points south of Kennesaw. Logan’s troops scattered the Rebel skirmishers on Little Kennesaw, gained the first line of intrenchments, and captured some of the retreating Rebels as they endeavored to gain the gorge between the two peaks, but were stopped by shot and stones from a perpendicular cliff thirty feet high, and after a short and severe struggle, were compelled to hasten back. Newton and Davis charges up the mountain in the face of a powerfull battery, struggling through entanglements almost to the breastworks. Kimball’s brigade even gained the parapets, Kimball, with that cheerful courage which never deserted him, leading it to almost certain death, over troops already defeated and discouraged. All were cast back with terrible destruction. Sherman had hoped to force a way to the railroad below Marietta, and thus cut off the Rebel retreat. But the only result of the assault was the slaughter of a thousand brave men and the wounding of two thousand. Our Fortieth, which, under Colonel Blake, was at the head of Wagner’s Brigade, lost in thirty minutes, one hundred and six out of three hundred men. The loss of officers in Kimball’s command was in remarkable disproportion to that of enlisted men, being one to six. The dead were buried, the wounded were cared for, and no more assaults were made from our side.


John T. Harrell, Co. C

Posted in Soldier Profile with tags , on January 30, 2011 by 40thindiana

Hezekiah F. Harrell


AW Bowen History Montgomery County Indiana (1913) p 723

Among the enterprising business men of Montgomery County is Hezekiah F. Harrell, hardware merchant of New Market, and formerly a successful commercial traveler for over a score of years.  His acquaintance is extensive, and all who have the privilege of his friendship hold him in high esteem for his many sterling qualities of manhood.  In private life he is a courteous gentleman, manifesting in his intercourse with his many friends athe characteristics and temperament of the genial race to which he belongs, and he is deserving of the large material success and the high regardw hich are his.  Mr. Harrell was born in Brown Township, Montgomery County, Indiana May 31, 1858 and he is a son of John T. and Elizabeth (Moore) Harrell, a highly honored pioneer family of this locality, the father being a native of Ohio and the mother of Indiana.  John T. Harrell spent his earlier years in theBuckeye state and he came to Montogmery County in 1840 settling in Brown Township, where he followed farming for some time, later devoting his attention to saw milling. He was well known among the early settlers and lived to see the forests give way to the cultivated fields.  He lived to an advanced age, dying in 1906.  He enlisted in 1861 in CoC. 40th Indiana Vol. Infantry and served through the war, taking part in 27 hard fought battles. At Missionary Ridge he succeeded in planting the flag after it had been shot down 5 times.  His wife, also reached an advanced milestone, passing in 1908. They were the parents of six: SamuelN; Hezekiah F; Elbert and Minnie May, deceased; Perry E. and Flora M.  Politically, the father was a Republican and was an active worker. Hezekiah F. Harrell received a common school education in Brown township then took up farming which he continued for six years, then for a  period of 22 years he traveled for the International Harvester Company, the Zimmerman buggy Company and the Gemmer Engine Company.  He quit the road in 1910, after giving his employers the utmost satisfaction and becoming widely known and entered the hardware business in New Market, this county being still engaged in this line of endeavor, carrying a large and modern stock of general hardware.  He enjoys a large and rapidly growing business, with the surrounding country.  Mr. Harrell was married in 1880 to Martha E. Jackson, daughter of Andrew and Elizabeth Bever Jackson.  Mrs. Harrell was called to her eternal rest in May 1909 at the age of 49, leaving two children, Cordelia who married Charles T. Hedges of Grand Rapids, Michigan; and Russell E. of Crawfordsville.  On June 4, 1911, our subject was united in marriage to Florence Virts, daughter of RH Virts and Mary Amanda Baker Virts.  She had been previously married to Charles Abbott and had one child, Verna Lucile. Politically, Mr. Harrell is a Progressive.  He is assistant postmaster at New Market. He belongs to the Tribe of Ben  Hur and is a member of the Baptist Church.

Battle of Peachtree Creek, July 20,1864

Posted in Atlanta Campaign with tags , , on January 28, 2011 by 40thindiana

Graves of Union soldiers after the Battle of Peachtree Creek

Source: “Annals of the Fifty-Seventh Regiment Indiana Volunteers. Marches, Battles, and Incidents of Army Life.”   Asbury Kerwood,1868; pp 267-271

” We are about to record the commencement of a series of daring and reckless attempts, made by a true representative of hot-blooded ‘southern chivalry,’ to say the irresistible progress of a large and victorious army. The engagement at Peach-tree was the turning point for the overthrow and destruction of the rebel army of Georgia. By his wild infatuation, amounting to madness, southern blood flowed almost like water; and the sacrifice of human lives was a consideration far beneath his notice. The disastrous results of his unimitigated cruelty will stand out in bold relief  among the prominent events of our late war, as a proof of what a piece of a man could do.

The surface of the country where our army was now operating, was broken and somewhat hilly. The sluggish waters of a narrow creek, inclosed in a deep channel, wound its way across the field, in an irregular, zigzag course. A short distance south of where the road running from Buckhead to Atlanta crosses the stream, it enters a dense forest, and leads almost due south to the city. After a number of ill-shaped curves, the stream enters the same forest, and pursues a south-east course.

In the afternoon of July 20th, when the enemy had disappeared in the woods, our division moved up and formed line of battle at the north side of the same, with the line of Wagner’s brigade extending into the timber. Gen. Thomas directed Gen. Newton to send forward one regiment, have them advance nearly half a mile on the Atlanta road, then deploy, face to the south-east, and move forward to the creek, to ascertain weather the enemy had any force in that vicinity. Gen. Newton designated the 57th, and Col. Blanch immediately proceeded to carry out his instructions. The regiment advanced cautiously to the position indicated, but found no signs of an enemy, and the command halted. We were now nearly one mile from our lines, in the midst of a dense forest, alone and unsupported. Col. Blanch desired to become more fully acquainted with the appearance of things in front; and deeming it imprudent to advance the whole regiment farther, he called for one man from each company to go forward with him to reconnoiter. They moved out several hundred yards beyond the regiment before they discovered any of the enemy. A single rebel soldier, who had been sent out to watch for the approach of our picketts’ caught sight of Serg. Vert, of Company F, and was just in the act of firing on him, when he was hailed by a member of Company C, who already discovered him, and, unnoticed, had drawn a bead at the head of the “Johnny.” They demanded him to surrender; and while one held his gun ready to fire, the other advanced and took charge of the rifle, which was delivered without further ceremony. It proved to be a new Enfield, which he had that day drawn, and was now loaded for the first time. He asked how far it was to their lines, and whether they were in force? But he declined to give any other answer than that there were enough there for us, and if they wanted to know any more they could go and see.  The captured rebel was then started for the rear, under guard. In a few moments the forces of the enemy in our front raised a yell, which was taken up and repeated along their lines for fully half a mile, and revealed the fact that they were advancing in heavy force. In a few moments they came in sight of our reconnoitering party, who fired on them and fell back to the regiment, which now beat a ahsty retreat, occasionally halting long enough to be certain that the enemy were in pursuit. When the noise occasioned by the coming attack of the enemy was no longer to be misunderstood, Gen. Thomas made every possible preparation to give them a warm reception. Artillery was promptly placed in position, and the troops, who had commenced building works, were ordered to hold their position at all hazzards. ‘What has become of the regiment you sent out?’ inquired Gen. Thomas of Gen. Newton. ‘They’re out there yet sir,’ replied he. ‘Well, they will be captured,’ returned Thomas, who was not aware of the activity which the 57th was just then prepared to show.

Although the regiment had credit for being “some on the skirmish,” they were conscientiously opposed to a combat with Syewart’s rebel corps. When the regiment fell back to the line of rifle-pits from which the enemy were driven, at 2 o’clock, the order was given to rally there and hold them. But it was soon discovered that we would be exposed to the fire of our own artillery, and again the order was given to retreat beyond the creek. A few, failing to hear the order, remained and were taken prisoners. Even in the creek, Maj. McGraw insisted that it was ‘a good place to make a stand;’ but the majority concluded it was rather a watery position, and so passed over to the north bank. As we passed up a ravine among the willows, we saw a column waving a dirty rebel flag over the pits we had just left. ‘Here come the wet dogs,’ said Gen. Thomas, as we came up, dripping with water, after wading the stream waist deep, and some even swimming, in the deepest places. We had passed to the left of our brigade, in falling back, and before we were all across the creek the front lines were hotly engaged with the enemy. The battle raged with awful fury. The 20th Corps, which joined our right, met them on open ground at a charge bayonet, held the ground, and drove them back. The enemy attempted to cross the creek in our front; but, with the help of the artillery, we succeeded in keeping them back. At dark the battle ceased, and the rebels withdrew from the field. The 57th retained its position on the creek, and during the night constructed a line of works. When morning came we moved over and joined the brigade. The work of death was terrible in their front, where the dead of the enemy lay in heaps. The rebel Gen. Stevens was killed in front of the 40th Indiana, and his saddle and holsters were taken by one of the regiment. The loss in the brigade was very light; almost incredible, compared with the losses inflicted on the enemy.”


Another account of the battle in font of the 40th Indiana.

“Decision in the West; The Atlanta campaign of 1864, by Albert Castel, University Press of Kansas, 1992; page 376

” To the South along Peachtree road the “dusky gray columns” of Walker’s Division came over a hill so quickly that Kimball’s and Blake’s troops have to throw aside the shovels and axes with which they are improving their defenses and grab their rifles. Both sides open fire simultaneously; to a Union artilleryman it sounds “something like the heavens and earth had suddenly come together.” Stevens’s Georgians charge once, then again, and each time withering fire repulses them with heavy casualties, among whom is Stevens himself, mortally wounded by a bullett in the head that knocked him from his horse, just east of the road and in front of the 40th Indiana. Next Brigadier General States Rights Gist’s Georgians, South Carolinians, and Mississippians, taking advantage of a sheltering ravine, bypass the Union left and head for the bridge over Peachtree. So, too, do some of Bate’s Kentuckians. Should the Confederates seize the bridge, they will trap Newton’s Division south of the creek. Realizing this, his men begin having “visions of Andersonville.” But the six cannons posted by Newton and four more brought up by Thomas in person scour the ravine with canister, causing both Gist’s troops and the Kentuckians to run back “like a flock of sheep.” As they flee, Bradley’s brigade, having rapidly deployed along the road, pumps more death into them. This ends the assault on Newton’s front, left, and rear.”

Brig. Gen. Clement H. Stevens, killed in front of the 40th Indiana's works.

Masonic Resolution for Capt. Kirkpatrick

Posted in Atlanta Campaign, Soldier Profile with tags , , on January 27, 2011 by 40thindiana

Grave of Captain Kirkpatrick, New Richmond, IN.

Montgomery County, Indiana
“The Crawfordsville Journal”
Thursday, July 28, 1864

RESOLUTIONS – At a meeting of the members of Pleasant Hill Lodge, No. 63, held at the Lodge room on Friday evening. July 15th, 1864, the following Preamble and Resolutions were adopted:

WHEREAS, Our beloved brother, Capt. Absalom Kirkpatrick, fell on the 27th of June, lost in the advance on Kenesaw Mountain, while gallantly leading his company to the charge;


WHEREAS, The virtues of our deceased brother, as a man and as a Mason, demand a tribute to his memory; therefore, be it.

RESOLVED, That while we mourn our sad affliction and bereavement, in the death of this brother, we desire to bow to the will of Him whom we as Masons and creatures, are bound to revere and honor, for “He ever doeth all things well.”

RESOLVED, That in all his relations of life, in his social and Masonic intercourse, our deceased brother was a man of integrity and exalted virtue, a cheerful companion and friend, and therefore, in him was a model worthy of the imitation of all true Masons.

RESOLVED, That in his death, this Lodge has lost a faithful member, the country a gallant soldier, the wife an affectionate husband, and the father a dutiful son.

RESOLVED, That we deeply sympathize with the family of the deceased, and tender our heartfelt grief in their afflictions.

RESOLVED, That the Lodge be draped in mourning, and the members wear the usual regalia for thirty days.

RESOLVED, That these resolutions be recorded in the minutes of this Lodge, and copies be forwarded to the wife, and father of the deceased.

RESOLVED, That the above resolutions be presented to the “Crawfordsville Journal” and the “Crawfordsville Review” for publication.


Capt. Absalom B. Kirkpatrick, along with his brothe Cyrus H. Kirkpatrick, enlisted as a members of company G, on October 15, 1861. Absalom was 23 years old and a resident of  the Pleasant Hill area; modern day New Richmond, Indiana. He was commissioned 1st lieutenant on December 12, 1861, Absalom would recieve a quick pronotion to Captain, being commissioned on May 19, 1862.

Captain Kirkpatrick had led company G through many battles, he was always in the thick of the action. June 27, 1864 was no diffrent, as Kirkpatrick and the Fortieth Indiana were preparing to asault a well fortified Confederate position on Kennesaw Mountain, Georgia. Wagner’s brigade was placed in column of regiments, the 40th Indiana would be at the head of the assaulting column. Only 500 yards of ground was between Wagner’s Brigade and the Confederate line commanded by Gen. Patrick Cleburne. When the 40th cleared the protection of their own brestworks, Gen. Cleburne’s line “exploded in a blaze of musketry.” The Hoosiers quickly reached the Confederate obstructions, (40 yards from the C.S. trenches), the men began to pull, rip, and cut at the abatis trying to make a pathway. The regiments of the brigade were starting to stack upon one another. At this point Gen. Wagner stated that Captain Kirkpatrick asked, ” Where shall I strike the enemy’s lines?” Wagner pointed out a direstion to him and rode off. Captain Kirkpatrick directed his men toward the point of attack the Confederate line still alive with musket fire. Confederate artilley started cutting through the ranks as Kirkpatrick kept his men moving. The 40th seems to have been directing their attack at  Turner’s Mississippi Battery.

In the 1868 book “Annals of the Fifty-Seventh Regiment, Indiana Vols.,the attack of the Fortieth is recounted: ” The enemy reserved their fire till the 40th advanced to within a short distance of their works, had raised the yell, and were moving forward on the double quick, when they opened a withering fire of grape and canister …. The assaulting party (was) checked, and the men laid down.” Many men from the 40th went down in this artillery hell storm, among them was Captain Kirkpatrick, who was killed instantly by cannon fire. The attack would fail, not for the lack of bravery, the Confederate position was just too strong .

Absalom B. Kirkpatrick was a Master Mason, belonging to the Pleasant Hill Lodge No. 63 F.&A.M. After the news reached Montgomery County, the Pleasant Hill Lodge passed the above Resolutions. This was a common Masonic practice for the rememberance of a brother in the 19th Century lodge. Captain Kirkpatrick was laid to rest in the New Richmond Cemetery, New Richmond, Indiana.

Sergeant O’Brien’s Recruit’s

Posted in 40th Haversack, Regimental History, Soldier Profile with tags , , , , on January 26, 2011 by 40thindiana

On Thursday, November 26, 1863 an adverstisement was placed  in the ‘Crawfordsville Weekly Journal’ (Montgomery County), by Sergeant Joseph W. O’Brien, of Company H. He had returned home on recruiting duty, trying to replace losses substained in the  1863 Tennessee campaign. He had yet to learn of the great loss in casualties his regiment had just sustained the day before, November 25, on Missionary Ridge. His job as a recruiting officer had just become even more critical for Company H. Sergeant O’Brien would set up a recuiting station in his hometown of Waveland, Indiana.

On Thursday, January 7, 1864, the ‘Crawfordsville Weekly Journal’  ran this article. ”

Serg’t O’Brien’s Recruits

“Our fellow citizen Serg’t Jos. W. O’Brien, since his arrival home, has recruited for the service, principally for his own company, (“H,” 40th Indiana,) the following named persons, who, with but few exceptions, are citizens of Brown Township, this county:

Jerome B. Dooley; 40th, George Rodgers; 40th, Charles Osborn; 40th, Harrison T. Moore; 40th, Hohn Hickman; 40th, John W. Barr; 40th, Thomas Long; 40th, Chancey Smith; 40th, Joseph R. Sharp; 40th, Abner Jarrett; 40th, Samuel E. Shelladay; Company A, 85th Indiana Infantry, Daniel Williams; 126th Indiana Infantry, Joseph Fullinwider; 40th, George Moore; 40th, Joseph Hays; 40th, John A. Reed; 40th, Joseph Belton; 40th, George McIntosh; 40th, William Thompson; 40th, Samuel Eastlack; 40th, Sylvester S. Wolever; 40th, William Batley; 40th, Henry Watts; 40th, Nathaniel McGuire; 9th Indiana Cavalry, Lewis Dorr; 9th Indiana Cavalry, S. T. Whittington; 40th, Andrew J. Hickman; 40th, Aaron Wolever; 40th, William Farris; 40th, Robert Wilson; 40th.

Sergeant O’Brien and his recruit’s would return to the front later in 1864. ‘Company H’ would be up to strength for the start of the long Atlanta Campaign. Battles at Resaca, Kennesaw Mt., Peachtree Creek and Franklin were yet to come. A few of these men would never return home, they would be lost to the horrors of war.

On October 10, 1862, at the age of 33, Joseph Wain O’Brien enlisted  as a recruit in company H, 40th Indiana Volunteer Infantry Regiment  . He was promoted to sergeant on April 1, 1863.  Joseph transferred to Co. C, September 1, 1864 to accept a promotion as 1st lieutenant. On August 15, 1865 Joseph O’Brien was promoted to captain of Company C, 40th Indiana Infantry.  In 1868 after his military years Joseph went west; into the Lumber business with his brother-in-law Hugh McCleery. Joseph was married to Hester Logan, the couple had 2 sons and 1 daughter.  Joesph Wain O’Brien died April 2, 1902 In Oxford, Johnson County, Iowa. 

Thanks to Suezy O’Brien House for the additional information.

Jesse Neff, Company F

Posted in Soldier Profile with tags , , , , , , on January 25, 2011 by 40thindiana

Boone County, Indiana, Portrait and Biographical Record. Published 1895, by A.W. Bowen & Co., Chicago

Jesse Neff – When the Great Civil War swept over the country, and Abraham Lincoln made the first call for troops to defend the Union, the American people were pursuing the arts of peace, and the farmer’s son was holding the plow and assisting in the support of his father’s family.

Jesse Neff, the subject of this sketch, was one of these farmer boys. He is a native of Indiana and descends from hardy Swiss stock – from those people who founded the first permanent republic in the history of the world. Two brothers of the name were the founders of the family in America, in old colonial times. One settled in North Carolina and one came west. Colonel C. C. Nave was a veteran of the Mexican War, was from east Tennessee, and descended from the brother who went to North Carolina. The Colonel was well informed as to the family history, and stated that the name was originally spelled Nave, and that they were of Swiss ancestry. Colonel Nave practiced law for many years in Hendricks County, Indiana, and at the time of his death was the oldest practitioner at the bar in the State of Indiana.

From the brother who came west, or his descendants, came its name Neff. John Neff, the grandfather of the subject, was born near Baltimore, Maryland. He was a farmer and settled in Boyle County, Kentucky, near Danville, and reared a family consisting of the following children: Jacob, Abraham, Margaret, Martha and Sarah. John Neff came to Hendricks County, Indiana, in 1835, and settled in Eel River Township, where he entered 160 acres of land, became a prominent and substantial farmer, and lived to the great age of eighty-eight years. Jacob Neff, father of Jesse, was born in Boyle County, Kentucky, February 22, 1804, received the common education of his day and became a farmer. He married in Boyle County, Kentucky, Gabriella Skinner, who bore him twelve children: John, William, Elizabeth, James B., Elias, Pantha J., Martha E., Jesse, Lucebra, Emily, Sarah F. and Albert; the first four were born in Boyle County, Kentucky, the remainder in Hendricks County, Indiana. Mr. and Mrs. Neff were members of the Christian Church, in which he was deacon for some years. In 1863 Mr. Neff moved to Boone County, Indiana, and settled near Lebanon on a farm. He died at the age of seventy-four years, an honored citizen. He was a stanch Republican in politics, was strongly in favor of the Union, and had three sons in the Civil War.

Jesse Neff was born in Eel River Township, Hendricks County, Indiana, March 17, 1843. He received the common school education of his native county and early learned to work on the farm. At the age of eighteen years he enlisted in Company F, Fortieth Regiment Indiana Volunteer Infantry, at Lebanon, Indiana, for three years, as a private under Colonel W. C. Wilson, and Captain Elias Neff, on October 7, 1861. He served until honorably discharged December 7, 1864, at Nashville, Tennessee. He was in the battles of Shiloh, Tennessee, fought April 6 and 7, 1862, when Grant, with 45,000 troops, was attacked by 40,000 Confederates under Generals Johnston and Beauregard; the Battle of Perryville, Kentucky, October 8, 1862 – between 15,00 Federals and under Colonel Daniel McCook of Buell’s army and four divisions of the Confederate Army under Lewis, Bragg, Polk and Hardee; Stone River, Tennessee, December 31, 1862, and January 1, 2 and 3, 1863, between 43,400 Unionists, under General Rosecrans and 62,490 Confederates under Hardee, Polk and Kirby Smith; Missionary Ridge, Tennessee, November 24, 25, and 26, 1863, between 80,000 Unionists under General Grant and 50,000 Confederates under General Bragg, and in Sherman’s expedition from Chattanooga, Tennessee, to Atlanta, Georgia. He took part in the battles of Resaca, Georgia, May 14, 1864, between General Sherman and Johnston’s Confederate Army, Rocky Faced Ridge, Pine Mountain, Georgia, Battle of Calhorn, Battle of Burnt Hickory; Battle of Kenesaw Mountain, June 27, 1864; Battle of Peach Tree Creek, Georgia, July 20, 1864, between General Sherman’s army and the Confederates under General Johnston; Jonesboro, Georgia, August 31, 1864, under General Sherman’s army and a heavy force of Confederates, who soon withdrew; then at Lovejoy Station, Georgia.

Mr. Neff took part in all the battles as above given of this memorable expedition, and after the Atlanta campaign, the Fortieth Regiment returned with “Pap” Thomas to Chattanooga, and then went to Athens, Alabama, and Columbus, Tennessee. They fell back with Thomas to Spring Hill, where a hard battle was fought, considering the number of troops engaged. He took part in the Battle of Franklin, Tennessee, on November 30, 1864, between General Schofield’s Union force, consisting of two army corps, commanded by Generals Stanley and Cox, and two corps of Hood’s Confederate Army under Generals Lee and Cheatham. This was Sergeant Neff’s last battle, and the terrible scenes of that day are vividly impressed upon his mind. He witnessed, as a combatant, the final charge of General Hood’s Confederates, which is considered one of the most brilliant infantry charges during the war, attacking General Schofield’s entire army. It was one of the most desperate scenes ever witnessed on the field of battles. Sergeant Neff was wounded in the storming of Missionary Ridge, November 25, 1863. He charged up the ridge with his company and was shot through the right thigh by an ounce ball. He was taken to the field hospital, where he remained for six weeks under a tent, and was then home on a furlough for six weeks – the only furlough he received during the war. He then rejoined his regiment. He was the second time wounded in the charge up Kenesaw Mountain, June 28, 1864. This was a slight wound on the right shoulder, which did not trouble him. The veteran soldier, Captain Bragg, of Lebanon, who was in command of his company, was taken sick just before the Battle of Kenesaw Mountain, and Lieutenant J. C. Sharp, temporarily in command of Company F, was killed in this charge, and Sergeant Neff commanded the company, from this time until just before the fall of Atlanta, in many hard skirmishes and in the advance on skirmish line and picket fighting.

After the Battle of Chattanooga he was tendered a captaincy of an Alabama white regiment on account of his gallant conduct and meritorious duty as a soldier, but he preferred to remain with his own regiment, the Fortieth Indiana, most of whose men were from his own and neighboring counties. During his services as a soldier he was on many hard and tedious marches, which greatly taxed his powers of endurance. He well remembers a hard two-days march from Louisville Kentucky, to Bardstown, Kentucky, to Bowling Green, in March, marching sixty-eight miles in two days. He was then a new soldier and carried a heavy baggage; also a force march from Nashville, Tennessee, to the Battle of Shiloh, day and night for six days, with but little sleep, marching all of Sunday night before going into battle. Sergeant Neff was a strong, active and efficient soldier, and at a time of life when his health and spirits were at their best, and he entered with alacrity and cheerfulness upon his duties, and served his country faithfully and well. After the war, Mr. Neff returned to Lebanon and engaged in the mercantile business with his father and brother John. At the expiration of one year he engaged in the mercantile business at Jamestown with an old comrade, John J. Carriger, who married his youngest sister, and remained in this business seven years. In the fall of 1872 he was elected Clerk of Boone County on the Republican ticket and served four years. He was not a candidate for reelection, but remained with his successor as Deputy Clerk for three years. He then engaged with others in the manufacture of implement handles, and while engaged in this business he was Chief Deputy Clerk of Decatur County for three years. He finally sold out his business, and was Deputy County Clerk for Dr. Reagan for four years. He then assisted the present County Clerk, Charles W. Scott, in opening his office, for six months. Afterwards he became connected with J. H. Perkins & Co., as one of the managers of their clothing department and in charge of their books, which position he still occupies. Politically he is popular, and was elected Councilman from the First Ward five terms. He was married in February 1865, to Miss Mary M., daughter of William and Elizabeth (Piersol) Galvin. Mr. Galvin is a farmer of Center Township, formerly of Hendricks County, where he owned a farm adjoining Jacob Neff’s, so that our subject and his wife were reared together. Mr. Galvin is from an old American family and a member of the Christian Church. Mr. Galvin and wife are the parents of nine children: Mary M., John P., Carrie, William, Albert, Olive, Emily, George A. and Christopher C. Politically Mr. Galvin was formerly a stanch Republican, but is now a Democrat. Jesse Neff is a charter member of Rich Mountain Post, No. 42, Grand Army of the Republic, at Lebanon, and has held the office of Commander three different terms in succession, of one year each, and was again elected Commander for 1892. He was a delegate to the last National Encampment at Indianapolis, representing the Ninth Congressional District. Mr. and Mrs. Neff are members of the Christian Church, in which he is an elder.

Albert Neff, youngest son of Jacob, enlisted in the regular United States service in 1886, Company A, Sixteenth Regiment, United States Infantry, and served five years on frontier duty in Texas and Utah, and reenlisted in Company F, Eighteenth United States Infantry, and was instantly killed in the City of Laredo, Texas, being accidentally thrown from a wagon.


Major Leaming’s Atlanta Campaign Letter

Posted in Atlanta Campaign with tags , , , on January 25, 2011 by 40thindiana

“The Soldier of Indiana In The War For The Union Vol. 2″; Author Catharine Merrill; Published Merrill and Company 1889.

Page 724-26

Camp of the Fortieth, Near Atlanta, Georgia, July 16, 1864′

“We are on the south bank of the Chattahoochie, our camp about six or seven miles from Atlanta; othere parts of our army somewhat nearer. We crossed on the thirteenth, and have been in camp quietly resting for three whole days, and with the alarming prospect of at least another day of rest. I never felt so keenly the need of it before, for both body and mind are completely wearied out with the constant strain brought upon them during a campaign of over sixty-six days , sixty of which were spent under fire more or less intense. We were always, during the sixty days, not only within reach of Rebel artillery, but also within range of Minie balls, and could hear them at almost any moment whistling, sometimes singly, sometimes in groups, all the notes of scale, from highest to lowest, according to velocity or the more or less perfect smoothness of the missile. If a ball hits a tree, and glancing, is battered by the impact, it comes squalling along so much like a cat, that the boys constantly say, ‘There, they are throwing another cat over here by the tail.’ These glancing balls perform strange feats in the way of penetrating into apparently impossible places. For instance the Chaplain of the Ninety-Seventh Ohio was struck in the back by one, with his face toward the spot from which it came. I saw a man have a hole put through his hat, and it knocked off, he sitting at the time with his back to a brestwork three feet higher than his head, and actually leaning against it. The ball had been shot from a lower point than the wall, and striking a limb overhead at a proper angle, was deflected in such a manner as to quite equal the Irishman’s shot round the hay-stack with a bent gun. There is no certainly safe place, and no possiblility of providing aginst the vagaries of ‘straggling balls.’ On the eighteenth of June, a man standing talking with me, and at the same time cleaning his gun, and whose head was at least six feet lower than the top of the ridge between him and the Rebels, and they also thirty feet lower than that, and four hundred yards off  over an open field, was shot through the head and fell as you have seen a bullock fall, an involuntary quivering of the museles lasting for a few minutes, alone showing that there remained even a remnant of the vitality which had  animated him a moment before. On the twenty-seventh of June, in the assault upon the enemy’s lines, in which our regiment was so badly cut up, three men were wounded, (have since died) all within less than a minute, and so near that  two of them were in actual contact with me at the time, and the other not two feet off. I did not get a scratch. A small tree, about eight inches across, behind which I stood for half an hour nearly, after the attack had evidently failed, and the greater part  if not all the regiment  had got back to the works, I saw afterward, when the Rebels had retreated, -there may have been balls put in it before, or some after the twenty-seventh assault, but it was, when I looked at it, actually torn into splinters by both canister and rifle balls. There was hardly a particle of bark left on it, from the ground up, on the side of the enemy, yet, as I said , I was untouched, while in a line of that same fire there were not less  than one hundred men hurt, many of them killed outright. I fear you may think there is a touch of egotism about this. My intention was simply to give you an idea, if possible, of the strange freaks and unpleasant partiality these bullets display for entering the bodies of some men, while they avoid those of others. Happily, so far, they have avoided me. I continue to hope they may’ keep on doing it.’  But about the war, what shall I say? I cannot tell you anything of our movements, for that would, under present circumstances, be contraband news, and mere speculations are of but small account in the face of the events which follow each other with sufficient rapidity to satisfy any one not born in the country where everything is ‘expected to be done in about twenty minutes.’  We have come one hundred and thirty miles over mountains and rivers, gaining every inch by hard fighting with an army who have made ‘spades trumps,’ and held a handful of them too. The positions from which Johnston has been driven by force or strategy are each miracles of strength, both natural and artificial, and having accomplished the huge undertaking in spite of all that could be done to prevent it, we are now arrived at the plain country, and have left the mountains and their spurs and outlying ridges behind us. The Chattahoochie is crossed, and we can count the church steeples, and see the dwellings of the people of Atlanta.

You will find when this campaign in all it’s parts has been carried to a conclusion, that there will only be a few of the outside corners of the rebellion to polish off. We are fighting it now in a way to either annihilate the men of the South, or compel the remnant to submission to the laws. It is a ‘Killkenny cat fight’, and we have a ‘cat with the longest tail;’ and the more desperate the fighting, the more terrible the loss, the quicker will peace return and the blessings  that belong to it. In spite of our losses in this army, they have been at least made up by reinforcements. You may rely upon this statement. We are most likely stronger than when we started. The South are fighting their last men – without resources. We can loose man for man with them, annihilate them, and have a handsome balance to out credit to commence the business of building up a nation anew out of the reliques of the old.”

Major Leaming’s letter was written to his wife.