Biography of James M. Walker
Battery A 1st Ohio Light Artillery
Placed on the web by Larry StevensSubmitted by Kay and Larry Davidson
Web Publishing Copyright © 1999 Larry Stevens
Biography of James M. WalkerBy the request of my children I will undertake to write a short biographical sketch of myself, family and ancestors as far back as I can go.
I was born in Columbiana County, Ohio. July 28, 1841, one and one half miles northeast of Washing-tonville, which is now a part of Mahoning County. My father's name was Thomas Walker. He was born October 8th, 1779 in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. He died February 27, 1857 and is buried in the Marlboro Cemetery; John is also buried in the Marlboro Cemetery.
Mary married Thomas Jolly, Isabelle married Dan Jolly, Abram is buried in the Bowling Green, Ohio, cemetery. Joseph, the 1st who died in infancy, Joseph the 2nd was born January 13th, 1826 and died ---- and is buried in the Marlboro cemetery, also Grandmother Walker. Grandfather was buried in a cemetery south of Columbiana. He was born April 24th, 1776, died February 6, 1831. By my grandfather's 2nd marriage there were three children born and after my great grandfather's death, the widow and the three children moved from Pennsylvania to West Virginia and that is the last account we have of them. My ancestors on my father's side were of Scot-Irish decent. My grand-father's name was Thomas. Grandmother's maiden name was Mary Shellenbarger. She was born May 7th, 1772 and died January 2nd, 1862.
My mother's maiden name was Mary Huffman. She was married to a man by the name of Miner by whom there were three children named as follows, John, Elizabeth and Joseph. She afterwards married my father and by whom there were three children as follows, James M. Walker, Thomas J. and a baby that died in infancy. In my grandfather Huffman's family there were twelve children, my mother being the oldest. My grandmother's maiden name was Catherine Coy. She was born near Hagerstown, Maryland, November 30th, 1779 and died February 10th, 1857 aged 77 years. Both grandparents are buried in the Lutheran Cemetery at Washingtonville.
Great grandfather Huffman, Detric, was born in Germany, June 23rd, 1751. He came to this country when quiet a young man and afterwards enlisted as a soldier in the Revolutionary Army. He died March 10th, 1826 and he lived in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania until 1806 when he moved his family to Columbiana County and a part of the house he lived in is standing now near Leetonia. He is buried in the Washingtonville cemetery where a sand stone slab marks his resting-place. His wife's maiden name was Susanna Alter. It is not known where she is buried as she died a long time before her husband.
My father and mother moved to Portage County, Randolph Township from Columbiana County in 1841. The subject of this sketch was only four months old at the time. They bought a small farm in the southeast part of Randolph Township and where they continued to live until my father's death, which occurred on February 27th 1857. My mother continued to live there and make a home for myself and brother Thomas until her death, which occurred May 27th, 1863 while I was in the Army.
Brother, Thomas, was born July 29th, 1846 and who now resided with his family at Goshen, Indiana. His wife's maiden name was Rachael Lamb. They have three daughters and one son. After my mother's death, my half brother William and family, Lewis Winder and wife, my half sister, and brother Thomas moved to Indiana. When I returned from the Army my relatives were gone.
After my father's death, I went to work for my brother-in-law on a farm and worked there three summers for him. The first summer I got $10.00 per month, second $11.00 and the third $13.00. In the Fall of 1857, Mother, Thomas and myself went to Elkhart, Indiana to live with my half brother Joseph Miner, but we were not very well satisfied so we came back to our old home. My mother, as guardian for myself and Thomas, bought thirty acres of the old home and made it our home as long as she lived.
In 1860 I went to learn the carpenter trade with Benjamin Sebrell and in 1861 worked on a saw mill and farm work until after harvest. I went to school at Randolph to H.D. Smalley and winter to the District school near home. In 1862 I worked on a mill and at home until August 8th. I enlisted as a recruit in Battery A 1st, Ohio Light Artillery. The Battery having gone eleven months before. I would have gone then but my mother did not want me to go, but when they came back for more recruits, she consented for me to go and this begins my army life.
I was mustered into the military service on the 8th day of August 1862 for three years service. We went from Ravenna to Cleveland, Ohio and were quartered at the New England Hotel on Water Street where we boarded at the Government expense for some two weeks, having the privilege of the city. Answering to roll call in the morning. But before leaving for the army we were sent to Camp Cleveland to get our uniforms and camp equipage. On the 26th day of August we left Cleveland, expecting to go direct to the Battery which was located at Battle Creek, Tennessee on the Tennessee River. We were in charge of Sargent Hewett. We left Cleveland for Columbus where we arrived at 12 A.M. August 26th, we went to the State House and slept on the soft side of the tile floor the balance of the night. The next morning we eceived fifty dollars bounty for offering to set our bodies up for target for the rebel bullets. But we thought but very little of that at that time. In fact we knew but very little what was before us for the next three years.
On August 27th, we again took the train for Cincinnati, where we arrived at twelve o'clock midnight and at twelve o'clock the next day, August 28th, we took the steamer for Louisville, Kentucky reaching that city the next morning after a pleasant trip down the Ohio River. On finding the squad was ordered to report to Captain Otis in Command of Park Barracks three miles south of the city. The weather was very warm and the roads very dusty. We arrived at the Barracks at midday and found them filthy and alive with vermin that the boys packed their things and located on the ground out side where we found it more comfortable. The recruits for the different batteries for the Regiment were there and we were all put under the command of Lieutenant Dorsy of Battery E.
On the 2nd of September, in the afternoon when we were about ready to eat our dinner an order came for a detail of Artillery men to report immediately at the Louisville and Nashville depot R.R. to go to Munfordville, Kentucky on Green River to assist one section of the 13th Indiana Battery and other troops located there for the purpose of protecting the R. R. Bridge. It was reported that the Confederate Cavalry was threatening the Bridge. There was a detail of 23 men made, myself being on of the 23.
We gathered our blankets, leaving our knapsacks and without dinner doubled quicked to the R.R. depot and where we waited until nine o'clock that night without supper. We were finally loaded on a flat car with two pieces of Artillery and started for our destination, where we arrived the next morning at daylight. When we woke up we found our car was on the Green River Trestle Bridge, 125 feet from the water and that was our first experience in soldiering and we thought it was awful to be treated in that way, but we learned before our three years past, that this was very mild treatment to what we had to go through afterwards. We got our breakfast at a small Hotel nearby, and you may know it took some grub to feed 22 hungry boys, at least I think the darkey cooks thought so before they got hot soda biscuits enough baked for us. The southern people do not know anything about baking light bread. We unloaded our Artillery after breakfast and teams and were sent from the fort to haul them to Camp and they were placed in the fort that was being built there. The fort was on the south side of the river and Woodsenville was on the north side.
We arrived there September 3rd, 1862. We were quartered in large bell tents out side of the fort. The fort was one-fourth mile east of the railroad on a hill and near a cemetery and a line of works run from the fort to a stockade on the railroad. We were kept busy drilling as soldiers and worked on the fort while we were resting. Our knapsacks were left in Louisville and on the 14th of September, Jeremiah Ward was sent back after them. He got them as far as the depot in Louisville. The next morning we learned that the railroad bridge had been destroyed about thirty miles the north side of Green River.
Our garrison was attacked early Sunday morning, September 15th by a division of Confederates, 4,000 or 5,000 strong, and we repulsed their charge with great loss to them, our loss was not so great, as we were protected by works. Their dead and wounded lay thick just outside of the fort; it was a fearful sight for boys just from their peaceful homes, but that was only a beginning. At this time our army of fifty or sixty thousand, under the command of Gen. Buel was at Cave City, only a few miles south of us and in hearing of our guns, but they made no effort to help us. We continued to skirmish with the enemy the balance of the day and on the 16th they sent in a flag of truce demanding a surrender and by this time the whole rebel army had come up, which numbered forty or fifty thousand men and they had us completely surrounded.
Our commander, Gen. Wilder, decided it was useless to hold out any longer and agreed to surrender. There were about 4,000 of us against their whole army. Edward K. Davison, one of our Battery boy recruits was killed in the engagement. He was the first man killed in the Battery, if it did enlist eleven months before. Gen. Buel kept them on the go, but not much fighting. We had only been about one month from home - a pretty severe introduction.
We were paroled and sent south until we met our own army and Gen. Buel sent us south forty miles farther to Bowling Green and from there we took a circuitous route through western Kentucky and struck the Ohio River forty miles below Louisville at Bradensburg. We crossed the river to the Indiana side and marched up the river to Jeffersonville, across the river from Louisville. By this time our Army had gotten to Louisville and had driven the rebel army away. And here we got to see the old Battery that we started from home for a few weeks before, and as we had been paroled, that is, could not take up arms against the Confederates until we exchanged man for man. So Governor Marten took us in charge, as nearly all of the troops were from Indiana, except us Ohio Artillery and a company of Kentucky Cavalry. He took us to Indianapolis and from there we were sent to Columbus and from there home. We stayed there until the first of February 1863.
We were ordered back to the Army, first going to Cleveland and then to Columbus, then Cincinnati. We took a boat there for Nashville where we arrived on the 22nd of February. The army, at this time, was at Murfreesboro, 25 miles south of Nashville, where our Battery was nearly captured (that is the guns). Only one out of the six was saved and some of the men were captured, but our army came out victorious. We go new guns, horses, and harness and full equipment and by us recruits coming back, the Battery was ready for the Liberty Cap and Tullhoma Campaign.
We took the place of men that were detailed out of the Infantry Regiments. On the 4th day of June, we drew three days cooked rations and four days uncooked to carry in our knapsacks. This was something new and caused much talk and comment, as there was no immediate move until the 24th at 5 A.M.
The army started on the Liberty Campaign with some hard fighting and marching and rain almost every day for two weeks, and with wet blankets to sleep on and the roads, the worst I ever saw with wagons and artillery stuck in the mud was no uncommon sight. On the 1st of July we captured Tullahoma. The enemy had evacuated, leaving their heavy guns, which were too heavy to move through the mud. We went into camp and lay there without anything of importance transpiring until the 23rd of July. We were again paid off.
On the 15th of August, we received three more recruits. After laying here six weeks, at 5 P.M. The following day, the division received orders to march and did so until midnight. We went into camp on the banks of the river and moved to Winchester and passed through there at 3 P.M. and went into camp three miles beyond the town. August 18th the reveille call was sounded at 2 A.M. and marched eight miles before sunrise. Wednesday morning, August 19th, 1863 reveille was had at 4 A.M., but the battery did not move until 6 P.M.
Our march was up Paintrock Valley. There was plenty of fruit of all kinds; peaches and green corn formed the side dishes of the army rations. The battery camped at the foot of a spur of the Cumberland Mountains. Hemmed in on all sides by them. At an early hour the next day we were ready to move up the mountains, but it was steep and difficult to climb that the train consumed the whole day and at dark one half of the battery passed up by taking the horses of the other half. So each artillery carriage had ten horses. The wheel teams did not have to go but one trip. The next morning the other half was taken up. We then went forward on topof the mountain range until August 22nd when we began to descend the steep rocky fall of the mountain reaching Bell Front, Alabama on August 30th. The division moved up within two and one half miles of Stevenson.
Camped on Crow Creek, near where it had been the year before, but during that year, the army had marched clear back to Louisville, Kentucky, and fought several battles during that time. The next day, the battery, with the division (which is Johnson's 3rd division of the 21st Corp) crossed the Tennessee River on a pontoon bridge eight hundred feet long and landed near the foot of Raccoon Mountains. A pontoon bridge is small boats set in the river twelve or fifteen feet apart with stringers connecting them and planks placed on them. The whole is fastened, by ropes on either side up stream, to trees and anything that can be fastened to. There is no railing on either sideand only twelve feet wide. I saw a herd of cattle that were being driven across (several hundred head) that became a stampeded and jumped into the river and swam to the shore.
September 2nd we marched up the mountain and went into camp at 1 P.M. We continued our march until September 8th with (unreadable: ---ard's) Brigade moved to the foot of Lookout Mountains in Lookout Valley, where we went into camp and fixed up shade for our horses and ourselves. When we were comfortably fixed another move was made on Friday, September 11th, 1863, up Lookout Mountain and across to the counter march until the 16th. A counter march back up the direction of Chattanooga for a distance of twelve miles and camped for the night. We moved forward the next morning at 4 A.M., was then ordered down the mountain where it seemed the rocks would smash the artillery wheels. At a very late hour on Thursday evening, September 17th, after making a forced march from early morning with exhausted horses dropping down in harness, we were formed in line of battle near Chickamauga Creek. Before sunrise Saturday morning, the 19th, orders were received to be ready to move in fifteen minutes. The division was immediately in motion on a good road enroute for Chattanooga. Crowfist Spring was reached, while there for rest and water, the roaring of cannons heard in the distance announced to the soldiers that we had not been summoned there for naught. We pressed on the rear of the line of battle to the extreme left of the line and reported to General Thomas, who was in command of the right wing of the army.
We had been transferred from the extreme right to the left of the army away from our usual position. On reaching our position, our infantry stripped their knapsacks for action and was ordered to charge the enemy. We succeeded in driving them back across Chickamauga Creek and night was on us and as it was going to be a very frosty night, there was a detail made to go back after the knapsacks. The dead and wounded had not been gathered up yet. When the enemy was reinforced by Longstreets Corps for the eastern army and they attacked us in force and drove us back over all the ground we had taken and we had to leave our dead and wounded, and barely escaped with our artillery. But it was to good effect to stay on the rust of the enemy. Night put a stop to the terrible slaughter. Early in the evening our division was relieved and passed back to the rear of the main line, where we lay in an open field al night, which was very frosty on the cold ground and thus passed the first day of the battle of Chickamauga.
Early Sunday morning, September 20th, the whole line was a stir; the men on the front line continued work on the fortifications where they had worked all night before. But the enemy was determined on flanking our left, which they succeeded in doing for a short time by going around the main line and striking our division that was laying in reserve. But they failed with great loss to themselves, as well as our own. Our battery alone lost fourteen, killed and wounded, besides two missing that we never knew what became of them.
We held our position of the line until three or four o'clock P.M. We had then to fall back on account of our right being driven back clear in our rear. The loss in the second division in killed and wounded at Chickamauga was 993. Armies, Union and Confederate, lost about twenty thousand each killed and wounded. Our army fell back into Chickamauga where we commenced to fortify and continued to hold. It was the objective point of the campaign. It cost many lives and a great amount of suffering. The Confederates got possession of the railroads and also of the river between Bridgeport and Chattanooga, and the only way for the army to get supplies was to haul them by teams a distance of sixty miles. The way they had to go, and many times, the men were on one fourth rations and any amount of horses starved to death at the picket rope for want of food.
During the later part of October 1863, the Battery left the fortifications near Chattanooga, crossed the Tennessee River on a pontoon bridge after night, and it was so dark we could not see only by a fire made of logs on the opposite side of the river. We reported to General Spears commanding a Brigade of Tennessee troops at Sales Creek up river towards Knoxville.
We were stationed along the river to guard the forts, one piece of artillery and a few companies of infantry. On the 13th of November, the right section, under the command of Lieutenant Davis skirmished with the enemy at Blythe Ferry. While foraging for corn, Philo Bierce was frightfully wounded by a cannon ball which took off his left leg above the ankle and tore the boot from the right foot badly shattering his heel. While we were on duty, we foraged all of the men's livings and also the horses. We continued to skirmish with the enemy from day to day, as we were just across the river.
After the battle of Lookout Mountain and Mission Ridge, we were ordered up the river to Knoxville where the 23rd Corp was besieged by Longstreets Corps (Confederates). But before we got there the siege was raised and we were ordered on to Strawberry Plains where we stayed a short time. And then four guns of the Battery (No.'s 5-4-5-6) were sent on the river to where the Clinch and Holstine come together and for the Tennessee River. The other two guns, No. 1 and 2, stayed at Strawberry Plains. (I was a member of the No. 3 guns and Uncle Alpheus was a member of No 2) We lived well while in that country, as there was plenty of forage. We suffered from the cold, as it was a very cold winter. New Years Day was said to be the coldest day, both North and South, for years. We were suffering for clothing, as we had not drawn any since we left Murfreesboro in June. We had no shelter except the canvas that we had to cover the artillery carriages. We stretched these over poles, which were not very pleasant, in zero weather.
About the 1st of January 1864, the government gave all soldiers that had served two years, and chance to enlist for three years more and to receive a bounty of $402.00. Almost all of the battery boys accepted the offer and received a thirty days furlough home. I accepted with the rest. Our Captain Goodspeede having made the necessary transfer of the government property.
The men commenced a long, wearisome march to Nicholasville, Kentucky on the 13th of January 1864. To reach this point, the Cumberland Mountains must be crossed, which at this season of the year was very disagreeable. We reached our destination on the 21st of January having traveled 185 miles over the mountains. From this point we were shipped in stock cars to Cincinnati. After two weeks waiting there for the boys to be mustered out and in again as veterans. The 1862 soldiers did not get the benefit of the veteran bounty but the furlough home.
It was very fortunate for the writer of the article to get home at that time. I found my mother sick in bed and it proved to be her last sickness, as she died in May, after I went back to the army. When our thirty day furlough expired, we had to leave our dear friends and homes and go back to the front again and some never to return again. When it came time for me to bid my mother good bye (and I knew it would be the last time I would ever see her) I found it the hardest to do I ever experienced before or since.
I got hack home after the war was over but mother was not there, neither was any of my kin folks, as they had moved to Indiana after Mother's death. Since that time I have twice been left without a home, but I suppose it is all for some good purpose.
We went from home to Cleveland, Ohio, and from there to Nashville, Tennessee, where we drew a full equipment of guns, horses and harness. We drew six twelve-pound new Napoleon Brass guns. After laying in camp and drilling for a few weeks we were ordered to turn our guns over to the ordinance department. We returned the horses and their harness, etc. We then started for Chattanooga over the rocks and mountains that we had driven and fought the enemy one year before. The distance is more than one hundred miles. We reached Chattanooga the 5th of May where we found the old army of the Cumberland and Sherman's army, in all about one hundred thousand men ready for the Atlanta Campaign.
They were divided into three great armies. Gen. Thomas commanded the army of the Cumberland, the largest of the three armies composed of three Corps, the fourth, our Corps, Commanded by O.O. Howard, the 14th by Gen. John N. Palmer, the 20th by Gen Joseph Hooker.
Our battery drew six brass Napoleon, twelve-pound guns that he Battery I, of our regiment had turned over to the ordinance department and we found, to our sorrow, that they were damaged by being breech burnt.
The first engagement that we got into at Resacaca, we had two premature discharges on Number 5 gun, the one that I belonged to. We hand four men injured, one fatally, Victor B. Stanford of Randolph, Ohio. He was acting as Number I on the piece. That is, he loaded or rammed the cartridges. The breech of the gun was rough and held fire, and when the next charge was put in, it caused the premature discharge. Comrade Stanford had both arms blown off near the elbows and mangled in a fearful manner. He was taken to the hospital and died in a short time from his wounds. We continued to drive the enemy from place to place, which took some very hard fighting. We were continually under fire and fighting, going on some parts of the lines all the time. I did not intend to write a complete history of the Atlanta Campaign, but I will have to, to give you an idea of an army of some hundred thousand men.
Our line of battle was, at times, ten or fifteen miles long and there was a right and a lift wing and a center. Gen. Thomas' army, the Army of the Cumberland, occupied the center and followed the single line of railroad that brought all of our supplies for the great army. Not only for men, but for thousands of horses and mules.
As the enemy fell back, they would destroy the bridges and the roads, and we would have to rebuild them. We had the bridges all ready made and if one was destroyed today, tomorrow or the next day, the bridge would be up and the trains running over them. We continued in that way until we succeeded in capturing Atlanta, Georgia on the 8th day of September 1864.
The Battery passed through the city of Atlanta, where the effects of artillery shots were plainly visible. During the siege, the battery went into camp two miles east of the city, on the battlefield where Gen. McPherson was killed on the 22nd of July. Many of the Confederate soldiers that were killed in that battle were buried where they fell by their own men by throwing dirt over the bodies and the rain would wash the dirt off and leave parts of them exposed and we had to rebury them. If we had not done that they would have censured us very much. I suppose we were partly to blame, as we did not give them very much time after a battle.
After laying in camp at Atlanta, resting about a month, on the 3rd of October the battery with the 4th Corps and other troops of Sherman's army started north after the rebel army that had also started in that direction: thinking to compel Sherman to retreat to save his supplies that were stored along the railroad, but in that, they failed.
They made an attack on Altoona pass where we had a million rations stored. They were driven off to one side and we went into camp for a few days. The cavalry, watching the movements of he enemy. And as soon as it became known that Hood had put a pontoon bridge across the Tennessee River at Florence, the 4th and 23rd Corps was ordered to Chattanooga with orders to report to Gen. Thomas at Nashville. The 28th of October, the battery started for Chattanooga, passing through the battlefield of Chickamauga, and on the 30th marched into Chattanooga. The infantry taking the cars for Athens on the 1st of November. The battery was loaded on flat cars at sundown and arrived at Athens on the 3rd.
We then unloaded there and commenced a march for Pulaski, Tennessee, which place we reached on the 5th. For two weeks we remained here in the camp without any excitement, receiving seven months pay.
In the meantime, Hood's army had crossed the Tennessee River, rapidly pushing toward Columbia. While at the same time, Gen. Sherman had cut loose from his rear on the 12th and with four army Coups, with an aggregate strength of sixty five thousand men and sixty five pieces of artillery, began the work of destruction to the Atlantic seaboard and this separated two great armies. One going south into the enemies' country, and the other, in command of Gen. Thomas, to look after the Confederate army that Gen. Sherman, with a hundred thousand men, had driven south during the summer more than one hundred miles and captured Atlanta. He now left a small army of forty thousand to look after hem, but Gen. Thomas was equal to the task. We left Pulaski on the afternoon of the 23rd of November and at midnight camped at Lynnville, Tennessee.
On the following morning the march was resumed and line of battle formed at Columbia at twelve o'clock keeping up a lively skirmish for several days. So closely had Hood pressed our troops, that it was necessary to move the wagon train across Duck River.
On the night of the 27th, also all the troops as our position was being flanked. On the morning of the 28th, the Union forces occupied the north bank of the river and the enemy the south bank. During the night, a large force of the rebel cavalry had crossed the river and were endeavoring to get between and cut us off from Nashville and to keep pace with their movements. The command as again obliged to fall back or risk an engagement at a very great disadvantage. Gen. Newton's division (the division that the battery belonged to) took the advance and come in collision with the enemy cavalry at Spring Hill, in which the division alone fought a desperate battle. The battery lost one man killed and one wounded. It was the intention of the enemy to cut us off from Nashville. They could then capture Nashville, with it's richly laden stores, which they were very much in need of. But under cover of darkness, our troops that were back at Columbia, came up and passed on to Franklin. Our division brought up the rear. The enemy, marching on different roads abreast of us.
At Franklin the forced us into an engagement on the 30th of November, in which the enemy was the losers by great odds. They fought desperately, for if they could have crushed our army, their way would have been open to Nashville.
During the night our forces fell back to Nashville. The enemy gave pursuit and on the 2nd of December, established their line of battle around the city from riverbank to bank, every three miles from the city. On the 4th, the battery was on the front line and engaged the enemy firing it's last guns in battle, throwing 197 rounds of shots and shell.
Gen. Thomas, previous to our arrival, had gathered up the troops available and with our army made a large army. The battery remained on the front line nine days, and on the 13th, it fired its last shots at the enemy. And on the evening of the 14th, it was relieved by the following special order, Number 340, Battery A 1st O-V-L-A is hereby relieved from duty with the 4th Corps and will report to Col. Loomis, Chief of Artillery Dist of Tennessee. By command of Major Gen. Thomas and this ended active service of Battery A.
We were present during the great Battle of Nashville, but was not called into anything. There was plenty of batteries that had lain there for two years doing no service except guarding the fortifications. And as our battery had been in active service since October 1861, we were entitled to a rest. The battery had marched over three thousand miles through the states of: Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia, transported 2500 by rail and river (the bloody struggles at Corinth, Stone River, Chickamauga, Resacaca, Dallas, Kenasaw, Peach Tree Creek, Front of Atlanta, Spring Hill, Franklin and Nashville, besides many skirmished not mentioned). We turned over our battery horses, etc. and received orders to report at Gallatin, twenty-five miles north of Nashville on the Louisville and Nashville Railroad to relieve the 13th Indiana Battery, which had been doing garrison duty for the past two years at Fort Thomas. The battery reached Gallatin on the 19th of January 1865 and found it a very pleasant place and nothing to do but garrison duty.
The destruction of Hood's army at Nashville and Grant's and Sherman's success in the East with the fall of Richmond, an the surrender of Gen. Lee's army at Appomatox, the Civil War of '61 to '65 came to a close. But with all of the joyful news came very sad news of the assassination of our grand and good President, Abraham Lincoln on he 14th of April. By the middle of May, nearly all of the Confederate forces had surrendered at the war virtually closed. Our battery had been the first to cross the Ohio River and it began to look as though we were to be the last to re-cross it on our return home.
We were yet at Gallatin, Tennessee, and every day, thousands of troops passed for the railroad on their way home and it seemed a long time for the battery to wait. In the time of waiting, we spent our time fishing, hunting, etc. While waiting for orders to go home myself, another comrade, by the name of Myron Richards, was detailed to guard an inspection officer of the surrounding county where there were military posts. They were located from ten to twenty-five miles apart. We were mounted and armed and spent several days on that duty. The boys were joining us before we started, that they would be gone home when we got back and we would have to stay another three years, but we finally go back and found the battery there, but with orders to report to Cleveland, Ohio, to be discharged.
We left the evening of July 23rd, 1865 for Louisville, arrived there the next morning and by river went to Cincinnati. The next day by rail to Cleveland, where we arrived that evening, of the same day, July 25th. At the depot the battery was welcomed by a band of music and invited to partake of a bountiful supper already waiting for us on the tables in the Union Depot. This being over, we made use of the depot as a Hotel until morning when the company was marched over to Camp Cleveland where on the 31st day of July 1865, we were mustered out of the U.S. Service. I had served three years, lacking eight days, and this ended my military life in the great Civil War from 1861 to 1865. The comrades left for their homes, glad that their lives had been spared to enjoy the fruits of their hard service, but glad as we were.
There were some sorrows connected with the return. The ravage of death was at work at home as well as in the armies amongst he soldiers, for in my own, as I have written elsewhere in the narrative, my mother had died during my service and my brothers and sisters had moved to Indiana. So on my return, to my old home, I did not find either mother or relatives, but I found good friends (which I always have since in times of trouble) and good ones, too.
I shall never forget old mother Yarian, who took me in with her three sons and treated me as one of them, but after a time I settled down and began my plans for my future life. I wish to mention here that there was one, at least, waiting and glad to welcome me back home. And that was in the person of a faithful and true little girl that had waited three years for me to return and who afterwards became my wife and we lived together nearly forty years when death separated us. I visited around with my friend for a few weeks, when I hired to Mr. Kannal near New Baltimore to work on a farm. It went pretty hard with me, as my muscles were soft and not used to such work, but I continued to work for Mr. Kannal until the last of October when I went to Indiana for a visit.
After a few weeks I returned to my old home and on the 23rd of November, 1865 I was married to Miss Celestine H. Bloomfield, and during the Holiday week moved, on what was a part of my father's farm and where my mother had lived until her death. We did not have the modern conveniences that the young people have to have now, but we had enough to eat and were satisfied and happy.
We were permitted to live together until we had as good a farm home as there was in the country. We did not stay at home and work all the time, but took many pleasure trips over the country and visited many of the principal cities in the United States. Sometimes it appeared that we did not have the money to spare, but we went and always found some way to get through and always paid our honest debts. An I give my wife credit for our success financially and otherwise. She was economical and saving in every way and I never made any business deal of any account without consulting her and I believe every man and wife should do so if they wish to prosper.
My wife's parents were Lewis M. Bloomfield and Lydia Ingledue Bloomfield. They were married on the 7th of June 1839. There were five children in this family named as follows: Alpheus S., Celestine H., Thomas M., Susan Gertrude and Asenath. Alpheus S. married Elmira Dixon, Celestine H. married James A. Walker, Thomas M. married Samantha Chain, Susan Gertrude married Joseph Marshall, Asenath married Mason Craige. Lydia Bloomfield, the mother, died December 8th, 1896, Lewis M. died ----, Asenath B. Craige died ---- , Alpheus S. died ---- , Thomas M. died ---- , Celestine H. Walker died July 12, 1905. The Bloomfields were descendants of Miss Marion Renick, who was, with other account of their religious belief, were banished and put aboard the vessel called the Caledonia with a small amount of provisions and without a compass or chart and put afloat with the expectation that they would be lost at sea. But such was not to be their fate, for in a short time after they were afloat, a man came from the hold of the ship bearing a compass and equipment, and they appointed him as their Captain. And he landed them on the coast of New Jersey in front of Ambay and thus they were saved and was the beginning of the Bloomfield family in America.
Marion Renick was married to Adam Hude and they had one daughter who became the wife of Andrew Bloomfield, the father of Thomas the Poineer of Crawford County, Pa. Thomas was born in New Jersey, November 23rd, 1746 and at the age of twenty-five he married Elizabeth Morris, a niece of Robert Morris, the great financier. Thomas and Elizabeth were the Great, Great Grandparents of Celestine B. Walker. Lewis Bloomfield (grandfather) born 1781 moved with his family to Stark Ohio in 1815. Located on Section 3, East of New Baltimore and died 1864, aged 85 years. He was a soldier of the War of 1812 and is a descendant of a soldier of the Revolutionary War of 1776.
We lived where we first moved to until the spring of 1868, during that time I worked on the sawmill nearby for Wm Mendenhall and worked my little farm of thirty acres. I had bought out my brother Thomas' share of the farm and I was therefore the sole owner. My father-in-law had bought what was known as the Elija Price farm consisting of eighty-four acres and we bought sixty-five acres with the buildings on. The farm was, very much, run-down and the buildings out of repair, but we went to work and with careful management and perseverance we succeeded in paying for it. And afterwards, bought the balance of the farm and later bought what was known as the Elija Brittan farm, but sold a part of it so we had some over one hundred acres left.
In 1880 we built the house that is now occupied by Daniel Rorabaugh an in 1885 we built the barn and continued to improve the farm so that we had a very nice home. But our health began to fail and it was difficult to get help, both in the house and outside.
In 1900 we built a small house and barn on the East part of the farm, across the creek and rented the farm to our son-in-law, Lloyd Austin and we moved into the new house. We continued to live that way until the spring of 1905 when we sold seventy acres, the West part of the farm including the farm buildings to Daniel Rorabaugh.
So far I have said nothing about our children. We had three daughers born to us. The oldest Zora was born August 4th, 1867 and married Charles Mummert, July 25th, 1886 and is now the mother of three children: Oscar R., Harvey C., and Helen L.
Bertha was born August 4th 1880 and was married to Lloyd Austin on July 26th, 1899 and is the mother of five children: Mabel K., Ruth I., Robert D., Harry W., and Gertrude L. Nellie was born April 29th, 1882 and was married to Gilbert Carlisle on May 20th, 1903 and is the mother of four children: Donald Grant, Elinor R., Wilda K., and Roscoe W. Zora and Nellie and families both live in Alliance, and Bertha and family live in the home that my wife and I occupied when their mother died. (Bertha moved to Alliance in Nov. 1919.
In August 1903, my wife and self took a trip to California. We went through San Francisco, stopping on the way at, Denver, Colorado Springs, Salt Lake City, etc. From San Francisco we went south, stopping on the way to Los Angeles, where we spent some time when we started home, stopping at Fresno, Sacramento and back to Denver, from where we made a continuous run to Alliance, Ohio. We arrived there, September 5th, 2 p.m., 1903.
We got home in due time and enjoyed a long needed rest after our long journey of six or seven thousand miles travel. My wife was not feeling well when we left home and it took some urging to get her to go but she stood the trip very well and I feel very glad that we made the trip when we did for she was never able, after that, to have made the trip.
From that time on her health continue to fail, but she was able to be around and take short drives until October 1904. She had a bad spell while visiting Alliance. After that she was never so well, but she was around the house until June 1905. She grew worse until July 12th, when her suffering came to an end. She was buried in the Marlboro cemetery. She was sixty three years and six months old at this ends of life of as a good a wife and mother as ever lived and it has been a mystery to me that she had to be taken away from us just when she was where she could take life easier and could have enjoyed herself with her family and friends, which were many. I do not think she had an enemy in the world, if she did there was no cause for it for she never said an unkind word of anyone. Celestine H. Bloomfield Walker was born in Randolph Township, Portage County, Ohio, just over the county line a quarter of a mile of our late home and where she died.
But what of the one that was left alone, mother gone, children married and gone to a home for themselves and I was left alone? No one but myself will know what I suffered, for I was seldom away from my family and never, when I could help it, which was not very often in nearly the forty years that we lived together. I knew that it would not do for me to sit down and mourn, but I tried to make the best I could out of the situation. But I consoled myself by knowing that I was with her in her last moments trying to make her comfortable and the look she gave me when she drew her last breath was a much as to say goodbye. I had to give her up and make the best out of my life I could. I stayed in my home and left things just as they were and boarded with Mrs. Fox eighteen months, when I decided I could not live in that way. And as I did not want to leave my home so I found a good woman that agreed to share my home with me and on the 24th day of January 1907 I married Mrs. Samantha Bloomfield and I brought her to my home the same day. And I thought part of my life was made up, as I would have someone to talk to and someone to go with me. And we lived happily together when fate was against me again and the wife of a few months was taken sick with a fatal disease in the form of Tuberculosis of the bowels. From which she continued to grow worse and was able to be around the house and take short drives up to within a few weeks of her death, which came the 15th day of March 1908, which brought a close to all of our plans which we had made. We were arranging for a trip to Indiana and other places and she had gotten her clothes and was already to start, but she continued to grow worse until we had to give it up. It was a great disappointment to her, as she had looked forward to meeting our friends and also the pleasure of the trip, but such is the disappointments of this life.
We gave her the best medical treatment and care as was possible but it was all of no avail. Her two daughters, Blanche and Maude were of great help to me in taking care of their mother as it was ver difficult to get good help. Samantha Bloomfield Walker died March 15th, 1908. This ends a second chapter in my life and I was alone again and I made sale of my stock and household goods and decided to live with my children. The home and everything was gone and I had to make the best out of the remainder of my days. Samantha Bloomfield Walker was buried in the Marlboro Cemetery beside her first husband, Thomas Bloomfield. This ends a short sketch of the writer and family and their ancestors and now requesting my children to look this over and make any corrections that may be necessary. I will close with my signature,
James M. Walker, December 7th, 1909
Near Alliance, Ohio, at home September 23rd, 1922, after a lapse of twelve years. I will proceed to finish my history that I began some time ago.
Twelve years ago, on the ninth of January 1910, I married Almaretta Hazel Reede and on The 10th of January 1910, we started to Florida to spend the winter in company with John Bohecker and wife, Albert Hather and wife. We stopped at Jacksonville a few days then we continued on to Tampa, and from there to St. Petersburg, Florida. The last of March we arrived at Alliance, Ohio and went to my wife's home where we have lived every since, going to Florida every winter except one. We have lived on the farm doing light work and have been enjoying good health at the age of eighty one years. We expect to go south again this winter.
Hoping what I have written will be on interest to my children and grandchildren I will close.
James M. Walker.
Web Publishing Copyright © 1999 Larry Stevens
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