The 7th Ohio, of which Company H was from Warren, played a significant role on the third day of July as they helped defend Culp's Hill.
They fought behind breastworks for the first time in their service and thus suffered minimal losses as the Rebel forces tried to take the hill.
At the conclusion of the battle on the evening of July 3, the 7th helped gather the dead and wounded for either burial or treatment. That evening a terrible storm rolled through Gettysburg and during the cover of the storm and darkness of the night, Gen. Robert E. Lee ordered his army back to Virginia.
At 1 p.m. on July 5, the 7th Ohio moved on the Baltimore Pike in pursuit of Lee's Army. They arrived at Littlestown that night and waited to see what Lee would do. On the 7th, the men were up at 2 a.m. and marched at 4:30 a.m. to Walkersville, a distance of 18 miles, ate their supper and moved another eight miles toward Woodbury.
Still in pursuit of Lee they arrived in Jefferson, Md. Here, as it rained most of the day, they marched past the body of a spy, Richardson, hanging from a tree along the road. They also heard that Vicksburg had surrendered, and that was great news.
On July 9, the men moved to Boonesboro and set up camp at 1 p.m. The weather was warm, and the men were ordered to draw more ammo.
The 10th was a day of reflection as they marched across the Antietam Battlefield.
They arrived at Smoketown at 1 p.m., where they were ordered to guard the livestock. On Saturday, July 11, General Geary gathered his brigade and congratulated them for their services at Gettysburg.
On the 13th, the regiment was awakened at 4 a.m. with orders to build breastworks with the threat of an attack by Lee's forces. On the 14th, there was a skirmish with Lee's cavalry, but in the meantime, his main force was crossing the Potomac back into Virginia.
At 5 a.m. on the 15th, they were ordered after Lee again. It had rained all day and the men were hungry and tired. They finally had dinner at an old homestead near John Brown's family farm. They arrived at Bakersfield and set up camp - they had moved 26 miles that day - weary and footsore.
The 16th brought news of terrible draft riots in New York City. They crossed the Potomac on a pontoon bridge near Sandy Hook. The men were furious after reading the accounts of the riots and, according to one soldier, "It makes all the soldiers terrible mad to think that there are traitors at home who will perform so. We would like to go up and fight them. We would not fire many blank cartridges, I am sure."
On the 19th, the 7th left the area of Harper's Ferry still in pursuit of Lee. Before leaving, some of the men went to see the building where John Brown was captured.
Confederate guerrilas constantly menaced the troops as they moved. They went into camp at 3 p.m. and received orders from General Slocum to burn any building hiding the confederates.
The regiment continued their pursuit of Lee until they reached Kelly's Ford on July 31. In 27 days since the Battle of Gettysburg, the regiment marched a total of 238 miles. Ironically, on Aug. 16, the regiment was ordered to be part of the troops to go to New York City and quell the riots there.
Below is a letter written on the Battlefield of Gettysburg from a soldier from Trumbull County.
Western Reserve Chronicle
July 15th, 1863
Letter from one of the 7th
The following letter was written by a young man who has been in the gallant 7th Regiment (from Warren) from its first organization. He has been in nearly, if not all, the hard-fought battles in which that regiment has participated, and has been so fortunate as to have thus far escaped uninjured, while so many of his comrades have fallen.
The writer of the subjoined letter was employed in this office as a printer, for several years previous to the war, and we are glad to know he has got along so fortunately, and that although quite young, has proven himself a brave and faithful soldier. The letter was not written for publication, having been sent to J. M. Stull, Esq., to whom we are indebted for its use:
On the Field of Battle, Gettysburg
July 4, 1863
Dear Uncle: I have much that I would like to write at this moment, but there is so much going on that I do not know what to say. This, of course, convinces you that I am safe. In fact we lost but few men.
The enemy advanced upon our position, we being upon the right flank of the army, and our corps held them in check something like one day. When night came on, the firing ceased, and this morning they were given up the ground, which is found to be covered terribly with dead and wounded, the former by the thousand. We have picked up in our front some 4,000 small arms that the enemy left on the field.
The force which we engaged was General Jackson's old Corps, now under command of Gen. Ewell. Jackson's old division were nearly all killed, and the rest taken prisoners, by our division. It was under the command of General Ed. Johnston.
This battle has been the greatest of the war, and the rebs never received such terrible blows before as those which have been given during the last two days, and I think it will result in their almost annihilation or capture before they reach Virginia again.
On our left flank, the main part of the army was whipped and thousands upon thousands killed. Yesterday afternoon we took over ten thousand prisoners at one haul. They were badly wounded and cut up before they would come to tea.
It would be hard to tell the amount of prisoners we have taken; they are so numerous, while we have lost but few men. The rebel army is said to be awfully discouraged and will not be able to stand another battle. Our cavalry have done much damage to their wagon train, and is at work on their flanks today.
This is to us, is really a merry Fourth of July. I cannot tell you what we are about to do. This is such a big machine to run that it is hard to tell what is going on. So I hope you will excuse this hasty scratch. I shot about 100 rounds yesterday.
J. J. Merrill (Of Warren)
Compiled by members of the CW150 Committee of Warren's Sutliff Museum.