This is a letter home to Warren sent from a member of the 7th Regiment on the question of whether to reenlist in the Union Army after three years' service:
Feb. 25, 1864
Editor News: As a military man, I make it a point not to be often surprised. But for me to receive a flattering request to act as your correspondent is a complete coup de main.
However, even if it should result in my capture, I am of the opinion that the spoils would be but a poor conquest. I am neither by nature, habit, nor inclination, a correspondent. It is entirely outside my line of business. My muster in papers call for different kind of service from this.
However, pro bono public, I will cheerfully furnish you occasional items of interest concerning this company and regiment. I presume the public is interested in us.
I know we have many dear friends who entertain a genuine noble interest in our welfare, and they are always anxious to hear from us. We get some pretty substantial proofs of that interest.
Let me assure you that when those proofs come in the shape of long letters and well-packed boxes of fruit, etc., they are fully appreciated. You would have thought so, had you seen the happy, eager crowd of blue jackets that gathered in Company C's street a few mornings ago, to witness the unpacking and distribution of the contents of an old Berlin box - that huge box - that was to have brought so much comfort and joy to our wounded, soon after the battle of Ringgold.
I am sure the railroad conductors, sanitary agents and other officials could not have known how anxious we all were for that box to come through to the front, for they allowed it to get lost under a lot of other boxes in Nashville, and it probably would have remained there all summer had not Cpl. Raymond, on his way here from Ohio, stopped there and dug it out, and then engineered it through to us.
But the wounded and nearly all, long since, been sent away from here, and are now scattered about, either at their homes, or in different hospitals in the north, so the good things were equally distributed to each company in the regiment.
We are enjoying a long season of quiet, in good quarters, with full rations and light duty. It is delightful weather. The oldest inhabitants here say they never knew of so warm and dry a season before as this has been, and they predict a cold, wet, backward spring.
The veteran favor of the Seventh has almost entirely disappeared. One company, F, has gone home on furlough, as all attempts to reenlist the entire regiment have failed.
Maj. Gen. Slocum is very anxious to have the Seventh reenlist as a regiment. He presented the question to us a few days ago in an easy gentlemanly like characteristic speech, during which he complimented the regiment very highly, and gave a noble tribute to the memory of our late gallant leaders, Colonels Creighton and Crane.
The expiration of our first term of enlistment is near at hand now. Very few of us remained to be mustered out then. Old soldiers can only know with what feelings we have looked forward to that day.
Does anybody wonder that it is hard for us to bind ourselves for another three years before we taste freedom again? Does anybody blame us if we don't? Will anybody accuse the old members of the regiment of a lack of patriotism if they do not reenlist as veterans?
The chief global of the White Star division, Gen. Geary, returned a few days since from a short leave of absence.
Lieut. Col. McClellan, lately promoted from Capt. of Company H., (Trumbull County man) arrived here yesterday, and soon takes command of the regiment. He has entirely recovered from his Taylors Ridge wounds, and looks all the better for his visit home.
Furloughs are now being granted in this department, at the rate of 5 percent of the aggregate strength. The camps here were alarmed last evening by report of the close proximity of the rebel Morgan with a large cavalry force, but it proved to be only a scare.
A member of the 7th Ohio Volunteer Infantry.
Many attempts were made by the upper level of command to reenlist the 7th Ohio for another term of service. The 7th Ohio was one of the most famous regiments in the entire army. They had suffered tremendous losses at the hand of the enemy and had won many battles in their time.
Since entering the service as a tree year unit in June of 1861, they went from a full strength of 1,000 men to barely 300. Attrition from the march, battles and disease reduced their ranks significantly. Many thought it was time to go home and let another group finish the fighting.
There was a major battle about to brew between the men of the 7th and the U.S. Army about just when they would be released. That will play out during the next few months.
In other news covering this week in 1864, we have the following:
On Feb. 22, President Lincoln runs into increasing party radicals called the Radical Republicans. Horace Greeley, a prominent member of the group, will call for a new Republican candidate for president this election year.
Salmon P. Chase, 23rd governor of Ohio, former U.S. senator and current secretary of the treasury, has had numerous confrontations with the president and has offered to resign on many occasions. On this day he becomes seriously compromised with the president as a new circular has come out, known as the Pomeroy Circular, which is a radical paper calling for Secretary Chase to run for president.
The secretary admits to Lincoln that he is aware of the paper but had nothing to do with its creations nor has he contemplated running against him. The next day, the cabinet meets without Secretary Chase present.
On the 24th of February, Congress once again reestablishes the rank of lieutenant general of the Army. This allows Lincoln to promote General U.S. Grant to that position, thus giving him command of the entire army of the United States.
Also, during this congressional session, Lincoln approves a plan to free any slave who will enlist in the army and pay their master compensation.
Also on this day Confederate President Jefferson Davis appoints Gen. Braxton Bragg to be in charge of the entire Southern military command, i.e., Chief of Staff.
It must also be noted at this time that the scourge of the South that was Andersonville Prison is created. Americus, Ga., would be the location where this camp was to be built.
It was on the 27th of this month that Federal-enlisted prisoners began to arrive from all parts of the South to this infamous camp. It was expedited when the prisons at Richmond, Va., became extremely rowdy and unmanageable, and the 16 1/2-acre site, separated by a single small creek, was created as these men were transferred here.
By the end of the war, it would become the most despicable place any human in North America could imagine. Thousands died as men passed away from exposure and disease. The commanding officer would be hung after the war.
Compiled by members of the CW150 Committee of Warren's Sutliff Museum.