This article remembers just some of the men from Trumbull County who fought in the Civil War, as well as three known African-American soldiers buried in Trumbull County.
Veterans Day commemorates the end of World War I - the 11th month and the 11th hour when the armistice was signed.
Today, we remember all who served in the military. Memorial Day was first observed to decorate graves of Civil War veterans, and now we decorate all graves on this day.
Researching Civil War soldiers is fulfilling because you better understand what they lived through, and the most gripping part of their lives is the dedication and desire to serve. We have to remember with respect and awe all the men who have served.
Ralsa Rice first joined the 2nd Ohio Volunteer Cavalry, leaving behind in Greene two young children and his wife. In Missouri, he became ill with bronchitis and was discharged for medical reasons. He recovered at home, and when Emerson Opdycke was recruiting men for the 125th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, Rice enlisted much to the concern of his family.
He could have stayed at home and raised his family, but he reenlisted to serve.
He wrote about his experiences and became a gunsmith in Warren after the war.
Emerson Opdycke, born in Hubbard, a store owner in Warren, first enlisted in the 41st O.V.I., was wounded at Shiloh and returned to Trumbull County to recruit for the 125th O.V.I.
General Thomas and other historians praised Opdycke. In his obituary, Gen. Thomas called him the hero of the battle of Franklin, Tenn. Opdycke was not a West Point graduate but an intelligent, dedicated man who lead the 125th to distinction.
Isaac Gause in the 2nd O.V.C. contracted typhus in the fall of 1862. The doctors had little hope that he would recover. After three weeks in the hospital, he felt strong enough to return to duty and asked the doctor if he could.
In his memoir, he states that he regretted that, for he never regained his weight or strength. In 1900, Gause applied for an invalid pension, because his wound had not healed and the typhus had taken his strength. At this time, his pension was $15 a month.
Charles Truesdale signed an affidavit stating that Grause had indeed been sick. Truesdale was in Co. E of the 2nd O.V.C. and knew Grause; they had traveled home together on furlough.
Truesdale graduated from Western Reserve College in 1871, read law in the office of Taylor & Jones in Warren and was admitted to the bar at Warren in 1872. He then was elected and served two terms as Mahoning County Prosecuting Attorney, another dedicated citizen who served and returned to serve his community with the same dedication.
Lathrop Gilder was born March 30, 1836, first enlisting in the 7th O.V.I.; he later transferred to the 15th Independent Battery Light Artillery.
The 15th was organized at Camp Dennison, mustering in Feb. 1, 1862. They served in the Western and Eastern theatres of the Civil War. Battles included Grant's Central Mississippi Campaign, the siege and assault on Vicksburg, Miss., Kennesaw Mountain, the Battle of Atlanta, March to the Sea, siege of Savannah and were at the surrender of CSA Gen. Johnston to Gen. Sherman.
They also marched in the Grand Review in Washington, D.C., after the end of the war.
Gilder entered into the coal business in Warren after the war. He was manager of Bell Telephone Co. in Trumbull County for 20 years, a member of Old Erie Lodge No. 3, Free and Accepted Masons, as well as Warren Commandery No. 39 and a Shriner.
James Caldwell from West Farmington organized his own company, Co. D in the 2nd Ohio Volunteer Cavalry. Oscar Caldwell, his son, served in Company D.
Oscar was captured on Nov. 18, 1863, returning from a mission delivering messages. Sent to Andersonville Prisoner of War Camp in Georgia, he remained there until moved in August 1864 to other prison camps. In a letter after the war to the newspaper, he told of this imprisonment, mentioning that his weight was about 200 pounds when he went to serve and was about 100 pounds when he was released.
George Washington Williams, Co. G, 6th Ohio Volunteer Cavalry, is buried at Seely Cemetery, Howland Township. He died in November 1863 after being exchanged at Annapolis, Md.
Williams had been captured in September 1863 after the Gettysburg Campaign and was imprisoned at Belle Isle Prisoner of War Camp in Richmond, Va., where fellow prisoners sold his blanket and jacket. Emaciated, he suffered from dysentery and died at the Annapolis Hospital.
We cannot forget Gen. Jacob Cox, who after the war was governor of Ohio, served as secretary in President Grant's cabinet and was president of the University of Cincinnati.
There are three known African-American soldiers buried in Trumbull County.
John Eanse Kelly is buried in Niles Union Cemetery on a gentle slope with other Civil War veterans, near a flag pole. On his monument is his name, date of death - May 20, 1920 - and 29th Illinois Colored Infantry.
The 29th IL C.V.I. was organized April 24, 1864; they fought in the Battle of the Crater, Petersburg, Va., on July 30, 1864.
Kelly survived this horrific battle and survived disease to settle in Niles and work at Holloway Funeral Home. His obituary states he was a good worker and died of pneumonia in the hospital.
There was no known family to contact, but the Ladies Auxiliary gave him a flag, and a local minister conducted the ceremony. They had respect for this Civil War soldier and today, an American flag decorates his grave.
William Olmstead is buried in West Mecca Cemetery. Olmstead died shortly after the war, serving in the 5th U.S. Colored Troops, Co. F. His family lived in the area.
Andy Wilson is buried in North Bloomfield Cemetery. He died Dec. 9, 1868, in the service of Col. J.K. Wing of the Ohio 6th Vol. Cavalry. His grave is beside Wing's.
We must remember.
Compiled by members of the CW150 Committee of Warren's Sutliff Museum.
Sources: National Archives and Records Administration, Isaac Gause, George Williams and Ralsa Rice papers. Truesdale from ''History of Trumbull and Mahoning Counties Vol 1, H.Z.,'' Williams and Bros Publ. 1882. Graves is from personal research. Caldwell and Gilder family information is from George Beck.