Clark County, Ohio

History and Genealogy

Provost Marshal's Department from 1863 to 1866

From The History of Clark County, Ohio
Chicago: W.H. Beers & Co., 1881 - Page 297

All Sheriffs were, by virtue of their office, made Deputy Provost Marshals, and to them was assigned the duty of catching and returning to duty all of that class of sinners known as bounty jumpers, deserters and shirks generally. The Sheriff was virtually in command of the whole body of enrolled militia, and straggling volunteers and regulars besides. James Fleming was Sheriff of this county then, and his old papers are rich in data for many a "yarn." A few of the most general specimens are given as illustrating the stregth of the law in time of war, and also the duties which devolved upon the Sheriff.

Here is one of "Uncle Sam's prizes," drawn by a citizen of this county:

      September 29, 1864
To — —, German Township, Clark Co.:   Sir — You are hereby notified that you were, on the 29th day of September, 1864, legally drafted in the service of the United States for the period of one year, in accordance with the provisions of the act of Congress "for enrolling and calling out the national forces, and for other purposes," approved March 3, 1863, and the act amendatory thereof, approved February 24, 1864. You will accordingly report, on or before the —, at the place in rendezvous, in Columbus, Ohio, or be deemed a deserter, and be subject to the penalty prescribed therefor by the Rules and Articles of War.
Benj. Nesbitt,
Provost Marshal Seventh District of Ohio

The State of Ohio Executive Department,
Columbus, July 12, 1863.
Whereas, this State is in imminent danger of invasion by an armed force —
Now, therefore, to prevent the same, I, David Tod, Governor of the State of Ohio, and Commander-in-Chief of the militia forces thereof, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of said State, do hereby call into active service that portion of the militia force which has been organized into companies within the counties of Hamilton, Butler, Montgomery, Clermont, Brown, Clinton, Warren, Greene, Fayette, Ross, Monroe, Washington, Morgan, Noble, Athens, Meigs, Scioto, Jackson, Adams, Vinton, Hocking, Lawrence, Pickaway, Franklin, Madison, Fairfield, Clark, Preble, Pike, Gallia, Highland and Perry. * * * And it is further ordered that all such forces residing in the counties of Franklin, Madison, Clark, Greene, Pickaway and Fairfield report forthwith at Camp Chase to Brig. Gen. John S. Mason, who is hereby authorized to organize said forces into battalions or regiments, and appoint temporary officers therefor. * * * Each man is requested to furnish himself with a good, servicable blanket and tin cup. They will remain on duty, subject to the orders of their commanding officers, until further ordered from these Headquarters. In organizing the forces into battalions and regiments, the Volunteer Companies will, as far as practicable, be organized separately from the enrolled militia. The commanders of companies will provide their respective comands with subsistence and transportation to the camps indicated, giving the parties furnishing the same suitable vouchers therefor. The commanders of the several camps will report by telegraph to the Adjutant General of Ohio, every morning, the number of men in camp. It is confidently expected that this order will be obeyed with alacrity and cheerfulness. It is issued upon the urgent solicitation of Major General Burnside, Commander-in-Chief of the Department of Ohio.
In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my nad and affixed the great seal of the State of Ohio.
David Tod,

The foregoing is a copy of so much of Gov. Tod's order calling out the forces to capture John Morgan, as relates to this county.

The following telegram pertains to the same, and every able-bodied man in the county, at that time, was included in the call:

Send all your organized companies, whether militia or volunteers.
To James Fleming.
David Tod.

The "Cornstalk" militia were prepared for duty in the field by orders like this which follows:

[Special Orders, No. 77, Vol. 7.]     Columbus, Ohio, July 18, 1863.
The several companies of enrolled militia in Clark County, organized and unorganized, and the districts mentioned herein, and recognized as representing a company, are permanently designated by letter, as shown in the margin of this order, and will, until further order, constitute the First Regiment of Militia, in Clark County.
* * * * * * * * * *
The Sheriff of said county will proceed, immediately on the receipt of this order, to cause the electon of field officers for said regiment in the least time practicable, and as soon as a commandant is elected for said regiment and qualified, deliver this order to him.
Should the exigence of the public service require any act or acts to be done by a commandant of said regiment before a field officer is elected and qualified, such act or acts will be performed by Captain Dixon A. Harrison, of Co. E, who is hereby detailed to command and required to perform all the duties of commandant, and especially those required under Sec. 22d of the Militia Law, until a field officer is elected by the regiment and qualified, and will then turn over the command and proper papers, and report in writing all official acts done by him under this detail to the ranking field officer of the regiment, and will also report his proceedings in writing to these Headquarters.
By order
Chas. W. Hill,
Adjutant General of Ohio

It may be remarked to the patrons of this work that all of the above are printed from the identical papers as "copy."

The next sample was one of those "unkind" bits of official meddling which caused many a soldier to sing "The Girl I left Behind Me."

Columbus, November 14, 1864
James Flemming, Dept'y Prov. Ml.:     Sir — The Secretary of War has ordered that all officers and enlisted men absent from their commands shall return to the same immediately, and all leaves of absence and furloughs are revoked, except as to commissioned officers absent on sick leave, on orders, or by virtue of certificate of disability duly filled as required by the Regulations of the War Department.

You will make special effort to secure prompt and thorough compliance with this order. All men who are absent from General Hospitals will return to the hospitals from which they were furloughed. All others will report to their respective posts, companies, or regiments, if the same are within convenient reach; if not, they will report to the General Rendezvous in this city, to be forwarded thence as soon as possible.

The intention of this order is to put every man belonging to the military service on his proper duty or at his post at once.

You will see that every facility is afforded for the prompt and convenient return of all those who comply with this order, and all who make themselves deserters by failing to report will be arrested and broght to these headquarters.
Very resp'y, your obd't serv't
Benj. Nesbitt,
Capt. and Prov. Ml. 7th Dist. Ohio.

In the summer of 1863, the whole militia force of Ohio was mobilized to a limited extent; the State was divided into company districts and officers chosen. The result here was as follows, so far as Captains were elected. See also orders on another page.

First Regiment, Company A, William Blakeney; Company B, W.G. Michael; Company C, John D. Petticrew; Company D, Reuben Rose; Company E, Dixon Harrison; Company F, Benjamin Dye; Company G, William Wright; Company H, J.R. Bretney; Company I, M. Castle.

Third Regiment — Company A, J.C. Gillett; Company B, J.H. Tuttle; Company C, J.T. Warder; Company D, J.D. Keifer; Company E, Alfred Miller; Company F, Eli Kizer; Company G, J.V. Ballentine; Company H, Henry Seitz.

Second Regiment — Company A, Henry Huben; Company B, Findley Shartle; Company C, John E. Layton; Company D, H.C. Cross; Company E, Henry Snyder; Company F, Thomas Minich; Company G, John Spence; Company H, Henry Kell.

Fourth Regiment — Company A, George Kennedy; Company B, N. Conway; Company C, L.W. Ellsworth; Company D, Joseph Wilcox; Company E, William Simpson; Company F, George H. Forbes; Company G, Thomas W. Brown; Company H, T.P. Miller.

This force of one brigade went into camp once or twice, and the next winter the law was changed, which ended the trouble for the time being.


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City Charter

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Early Clark County

George Rogers Clark

Clark-Shawnee Centennial

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Springfield in 1852

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Springfield History

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