Darlene E. Kelley
April 24, 1999
Historical Collections of Ohio
The Kelley Family Book
compiled by Hermon Alfred Kelley 1897
And Then They Went West by D. Kelley 1998 (Part 8)
At the outbreak of
the Civil War a call was issued through the medium of the "Islander" for
a meeting of the Kelley's Island Union Guards, to be held Jan. 19,1861.
The first military company of the island chose George P. Bristol, then
twenty-one years old, to be its captain. Mr. Bristol had had some
military training having been a member of a similar organization at his
home town, Ravenna, Ohio. He was minus a thumb and finger which he lost
while in Ravenna by the explosion of a cannon that was being fired in
honor of the arrival of Governor Chase. The Union Guards was an
artillery company. They obtained one of the old cannon that had been
used on board one of Commodore Perry's fleet at the battle of Lake Erie.
About the only service they perfomed, beyond reassuring the inhabitants
of the island, who feared an attack by Rebels and Southern sympathizers
from Canada, was to participate in the Perry Victory Celebration at
Put-in-Bay on Sept.11,1861. It was not until the call of July 2,1862,
was made by the government of the United States that recruiting became
active in Sandusky. Several of the island boys enlisted in the 101st
Ohio Volunteer Regiment, Company B, which was organized in Sandusky.
The roster shows the names of Sergeant Simon Huntington, a son of George
C. Huntington, Emmett Lincoln, and John M. Ward. The roster of the 24th
Infantry contains the names of Sergeant James Quinn and George
Stubenhofer. The 3rd Ohio Cavalry attracted John Woodford and Stephen
French. We know from other sources that Charles Quinn, Jake Rush and
Morris Lincoln were together on a gunboat on the Mississippi River. Pat
and John Monaghan also volunteered and were accepted. George P. Bristol
volunteered but was rejected because he was minus the thumb and finger.
It is recorded in the Islander that the men were awarded a bounty of
fifty dollars each in 1862. The sum was raised by the island folks and
was intended for the support of the families of those who joined the
Army at the time. They were as follows; Simon Huntington, John M.Ward,
Jerome Hollay, Bradford Severy, Charles McGettigan, William Hutton,
Dennis Mullen, Henry Pape, August Raab, Emmett Lincoln and George
Wright. These men, then, are some of the least of the island men who
joined in 1862 or before. A draft of fifty Island men was made on
August 4,1862, of which fourteen were accepted. Unfortunately the record
is not complete, so we are not able to give all their names. The account
showed that it had been said by Army officials that Kelley's Island
supplied the Army a larger proportion of its men than any other
community in the United States. Of the above men, Simon Huntington was
wounded at the battle of Stone River and died in the hospital. Douglas
Kelley was taken prisoner and languished at Libbey Prision from which
dismal place he wrote letters that were published in the " Islander".
The other men except John Ward, who died of sickness, returned at the
end of their enlistments. Most, but not all, were three year men.
During 1863, the excitement on the island incident to the war was
intense Rumors of rebel activities in Canada and threats of raids from
that direction by bands of southern sympathizers lead by rebel officers
kept the island people in a more or less anxious state. The letters
from the island boys at the front were publicly read at the "Lodge" and
the newspapers were scanned with eager interest for war news. On July
14, 1863, according to the "Islander," a company of volunteer militia
for State defense was recruited in less than twenty-four hours.
Ninety-six men enrolled themselves. The chronicler of this event in the
" Islander " opined that "the speed could not be beat anywhere in Ohio.
July 24th, election of company officers was held and resulted as
follows; Captain, W.S. Webb; First Lieutenant, George P. Bristol;
Second Lieutenant, Henry Lang. The following is a complete list of
officers and non-commissioned officers as published by the Orderly
Sergeant, Erastus Huntington, in the first issue of the "Islander" for
1863-4: Captain,W.S. Webb; First Lieutenant, George P.
Bristol; Second Lieutenant, Henry Lang; Orderly Sergeant, Erastus
Huntington; Second Sergeant,Michael Hughs; Third Sergeant, Hamilton
Hays; Fourth Sergeant, Jacob Vogt, 1st; Fifth Sergeant, James Titus; 1st
Corporal, William True; 2nd Corporal, C. Sternberger; 3rd Corporal, H.H.
Woodford; 4th Corporal, H. Ohmacher; 5th Corporal, B. McGettigan,Jr.;
6th Corporal, Lester Carpenter; 7th Corporal, Jacob Beaty ; 8th
Corporal, W.D. Kelley; Fifer, Jacob Voyt, 2nd.; and sixty privates. Of
these, eight were unfit for duty, leaving available strength of a
company 69 strong. We find in the record book of thr township clerk
dated July 14,1863, the following entry; " Board met and determined and
did give certificates of exemption to the following persons; Henry
Elfers, John Harly, Pat Gallagher, John Carter, Henry Gallagher, Henry
Pringnitz. -- No other business, board adjourned with this statement.
Whole number enrolled 134. Exempted 16, leaving company strength of
118.---George P. Bristol, Tp, Clerk." There appeared in a
December, 1863, issue of the New York Tribune a statement that there was
an army of twenty thousand rebel soldiers lying in wait at Point au
Pele' Island, for the purpose of making an attack upon the United States
army post at Sandusky. That the plan was to liberate the rebel
prisioners who only three miles from the city of Sandusky. If true, this
was indeed a very serious matter, for it was entirely possible, if the
ice was strong enough, as it often was, for the army to march directly
to Sandusky by the way of Middle Island , Kelley' s Island and
Marblehead, which were convenient stopping places, about equally distant
from each other and the two terminal points. Within a few days after
this article appeared in the Tribune, Captain Wm. S.Webb of the Kelley's
Island home guard, Company E., recieved an order from General Terry to
report to Captain Bassett, commanding the army Post at Sandusky, and
Johnson Island. Capt. Webb, immediately upon receipt of the order, went
to Sandusky, where he received instructions regarding an order to
establish look out camps at strategic points along the north shore of
Kelley's Island. Upon his return to the island, Capt Webb called his
lieutenants, Bristol and Lang into conference and made for establishing
the guard. On Jan. 15, 1864, the first patrol guard was established at
West Bay and named the encampment Camp Cattanach, because Mr.
Cattanach's fish house was utilized . The pickets were stationed at
intervals along the shore from Cameron's Point to Long Point. The men
were skeptical and inclined to make a joke of the affair, for few, if
any, believed that any danger threatened. They were dubbed, " the
frontier Guards" and numerous practical jokes were played on them.
Someone, under cover of darkness, placed a wooden dummy on the ice, so
that it appeared to the two guards who saw it at daybreak, to be a man
approaching from the direction of Canada. The officer of the guard was
called and excitement was temporarily high; but soon the Hoax was
discovered and great hilarity followed. On the following Thursday
night, an alarm was called by the guards, reporting that several lights
were seen on Middle Island, supposed to be signal fires of the rebels.
Capt. Webb was immediately called to the scene. He ordered the Orderly
Segeant, Erastus Huntington, to call out the whole company at the first
signal of alarm. Nothing further occurred during the following day,
except that the company was called together at three o.clock in the
afternoon at Kelley's Hall where extra ammunition was issued and the
company ordered to " sleep on their arms " at the hall that night in
anticipation of a possible night attack by rebels. In the meantime ,
Morris Lincoln and Oscar Dean were sent to Middle island to investigate.
It is almost unnecessary to say that this event caused the wildest
excitement on the island. Many packed up their most valuable and more
easily moved effects in readiness to leave the island in case it was
attacked. Others hid themselves,the silverware, money and jewelry and
while the men were away, the women and children gathered in their
neighbors homes too frightened to stay alone. Some affected to be
entirely alarmed and attributed the so-called signal fires to " Northern
Lights" or Aurora Borealis, quite common in winter months.
(to be con't in part-9)