Category Archives: Civil War

3 Books I’ve Read This Year

Why Just Three?

Basically so that I can talk more about books in a later blog post! I’ve read more than these, but I’m behind in my self-imposed Goodreads challenge. The truth is, I’ve given up on several books this year, so if you count partial reads, I’m beyond my challenge. I know that people feel differently on the topic of whether or not to finish a book that you’ve already invested time in, but for me I’m not going to stick with a book that doesn’t grab me–especially if it irritates me. (Another topic for another post!)

So I thought I’d pick a few that I did enjoy and showcase them.

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford

Have I mentioned that I love historical fiction? Since this one was a best-seller, I decided to give it a try. Rich in detail surrounding the Chinese and Japanese communities in Seattle and California both during WWII and in the 1980s, this book had a mystery to be solved and a character’s heart that needed healing. Loved it!Hotel_on_the_Corner_of_Bitter_and_Sweet_cover

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bog Child by Siobhan Dowd

My reading list usually contains a few books by Irish authors. I’ve found some really wonderful stories from over the pond. This one is set during the troubles when teenage Fergus and his uncle discover a bog buried in a bog. This happens from time to time in Ireland because bogs preserve history. With the mystery of how this child was murdered back in ancient times, Fergus’s brother protesting his political imprisonment by starvation, and his unlikely friendship with a British boarder guard, the story kept me enthralled. Highly recommended.

bog child

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Widow of Gettysburg by Jocelyn Green

After visiting Gettysburg I wanted to learn more about how the battles affected the small population of townspeople. This book was just the thing. Not at all easy to read about, but realistic and compelling. As Liberty Holloway endures trial after trial, she also learns something about herself and her ability to care for everyone no matter their race or political conviction. But that is nothing compared to what she learns about the mother she’d never known, and a history she had no idea she was a part of. It’s also a love story, and a story about compassion, which is welcome considering the horrific subject.

The Widow of Gettysburg

 

 

 

 

 

 

Have you read any of these novels? I would love to hear what you thought!

The Civil War Trail of my Ancestor, A Case Study

The Story of A Civil War Solider

So many letters exist detailing the experiences of Civil War soldiers. Unfortunately I’ve not been able to find any written by Edward B. Myrick, the Civil War ancestor I’ve been trailing. But that didn’t stop me from trying to find out more about him. He was born in Clermont County, Ohio, in July of 1845. He mustered in with the Ohio 89th Volunteer Infantry, Company F, at Camp Dennison in Ohio near Cincinnati. He was 18, 5′ 6″, light complexion, gray eyes, light hair, born in Clermont County, and was a farmer. This I found in his Civil War Pension File from the National Archives.

The Company History

Camp Dennison where author Cindy Thomson's ancestor mustered in.

Camp Dennison depicted in Harper’s Weekly

I was able to find out what the company Edward was attached to was doing when. This became valuable information when I was trying to patch together his own experience, because for nearly two years he was not with his company. He hadn’t gone AWOL, even though the rolls often listed him as absent.

The company was ordered to Covington, KY, shortly after being organized in August of 1862. They participated in the defense of Cincinnati against threatened attack. When I visited the Roebling wall murals in Covington, KY, with friends this summer, I had no idea one of the mural represented something my ancestor did.

Roebling mural depicting ancestor of author Cindy Thomson

Civil War Soldiers crossing over the Ohio River.

From there they went to Point Pleasant, WV, on October 5, and attached to several other units. They advanced to Falls of the Kanawha, VA, October 10-November 3 and then moved on to Fayetteville Court House until January, 1863. From there they went to Nashville, TN; Carthage, TN; Murfreesboro, TN; and the Tullahoma Campaign June 23-July 7. They were part of the Occupation of Middle Tennessee until August. In late July Edward fell sick. This is where the rolls contained at the National Archives helped me out. (Although in one place it says he was sick in June.) He was in “Convalescent Camp Gallatin, TN.” There was a lot of fighting going on in August in and around Gallatin. You can read about it here.

There were 108 beds at this hospital. He first shows up in Hospital Muster Rolls of the Cumberland USA General Hospital in Nashville, TN, July & Aug 1863, and is listed “sick.” There are 900 beds here. He remains listed there as sick through Feb. 1865. Back in Gallatin the muster rolls listed “1st Battalion of Convalescents.” The Nashville rolls don’t list this. I had to look that up.

What Injured and Sick Soldiers Did While Waiting to Rejoin Their Units

This book: The Encyclopedia of Civil War Medicine By Glenna R. Schroeder-Lein, has some interesting information. Look it up if you want more in depth information, but basically soldiers in these hospitals could be called upon for defense if needed, and were often given nursing duties. They could be furloughed if their recovery was expected to take more than 30 days, but there is no evidence Edward ever went home during this time. I’m not sure I’ll ever know what he was doing during this time or how sick he really was.

The Ohio 89th’s History

In the meantime Edward’s Company moved on to Georgia and participated in many campaigns, including the Siege of Atlanta and of Savannah. When they began the Campaign of the Carolinas, which came after Sherman’s march to the sea, Edward rejoined them, probably in March of 1865. He participated in the Grand Review in Washington, D.C., on May 24, and his company was mustered out and paid at Camp Dennison in June. A regiment is normally 1000 men. A company has about 100. Edward’s regiment lost three officers and 47 enlisted men killed and mortally wounded. They lost five officers and 245 men by disease. A total of 300. I’m not a Civil War expert, but I think they fared better than most. Disease was the biggest killer of men during the Civil War. I have another ancestor who died from disease having not fought at all.

 

Great great grandfather of author Cindy Thomson

My great great grandfather Edward B. Myrick

That’s what I have on Edward so far, except to say that right after the war he moved to Indiana, got married, had children, and died in 1907.

If you have any research that crosses any of this, please let me know!

 

There is a really interesting web site dedicated to the Ohio 89th here. Also I’ve contributed Edward’s complete pension file records on this site. You can find it under “Other Information.”