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    Civil War Correspondence Relating to Company B of the Ohio Volunteer Infantry, Known as the "Columbus Videttes." Twelve letters, three on patriotic stationary and one with a canceled patriotic postal cover franked by Thaddeus Stevens, ranging in size from 5" x 8" to 7.75" x 9.75,"and ranging in length from one to four pages, dating from May 1, 1861 to June 6, 1863. The letters are primarily to and from Henry B. Thrall and George D. Freeman concerning matters relating to Company B of the 2nd Ohio Volunteer Infantry. An interesting group concerning the Civil War activities of a militia company in the 2nd Ohio Volunteer Infantry.

    The earliest letter in the archive is from Frederick C. Stevenson, a corporal in Company B, to Freeman, treasurer of the company. Written on May 1, 1861 from Camp Dennison, Ohio, soon after the 2nd Ohio Volunteer Regiment had mustered in, Stevenson provided Freeman a "sample of army life," which consisted of rations of "three chunks of Bread and three slices of meal as tuff [sic] as sole leather, two cups of coffee twice a day morning and night, and drill three hours every day at six in the morning at ten in morning and at three in the afternoon, Dress Parade at six in the evening, roll call at six in the morning and at nine at night."

    There are five letters between Thrall, the captain of Company B and Freeman, mostly relating to company business. On May 4, Thrall wrote to Freeman from Camp Dennison that he found "commanding 93 men in the field quite different from commanding the Columbus Videttes in time of peace, but like it full as well, and would do the same thing again." On June 23, 1861, Freeman, writing from Columbus, Ohio, informed Thrall that a second company of Columbus Videttes had been formed, but the volunteers were without uniforms. "Finding it impossible to get uniformed by the 4th of July, we have resolved to parade in the following suit, Blk. Pants White Shirt Blue Fatigue & Red White & Blue neck tie." On July 2, Thrall replied to Freeman's letter from General Robert Schenck's headquarters at Camp Upton, Virginia, and expressed his pleasure at another Videttes company. He also indicated to Freeman that he planned to re-enlist after his three months were up "and start the company anew...we have about 30 with us who intend to stick to it, understand me, this is not when our three months are up, but when we come home for good, for I expect to recruit a three years company in Columbus as soon as the first enlistment expires." Weeks before the First Battle of Bull Run, Thrall wrote that he was looking forward to fighting Confederates: "We expect to meet some of them d---d, S---n of b--h's before long as we have the promise of a fight within a week."

    With the three-month enlistments of the companies of the 2nd Ohio Volunteer Infantry ending at the end of July, 1861, Thomas Arnold, captain of the second company of Videttes signed a letter, dated July 15 that certified the appointment of Freeman "a committee of one on behalf of the Videttes to act with committees of other companies to make arrangements for the reception of the returning Volunteers." In his new capacity, Freeman wrote letter (unsigned) on July 26 to a Captain Lilley (probably Mitchell C. Lilly, Captain of Company H, 46th Ohio Volunteer Infantry) on behalf of the committee of arrangements, inviting him to "take command of the battalion at the reception of the Videttes (co. B.) & Fencibles (co. C.) 2nd Regiment O.V.M."

    In the archive is a May 26, 1862 letter to Freeman from John Pausch, on letterhead of his employer, M. Burt, a dealer in watches, clock, and jewelry in Cleveland, Ohio, concerning the Secretary of War Edwin Stanton's recent request of governors to raise a few new infantry regiments. "There was a requisition received here this morning for five hundred men for thirty-days, and the people expect to fill it up this evening or to-morrow morning. Dear George, what I wanted to know is, are the Columbus Videttes a going. If they are, please let me know, for I want to go with them. Please let me know immediately, for it the Videttes do not go, I am going with the Cleveland Boys."

    The 2nd Regiment of the Ohio Volunteer Infantry was organized in Columbus, Ohio, and mustered in on April 29, 1861 at Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Soon after mustering in the regiment marched to Washington, D.C. where it served in fortifications defending the capital until July, when it was attached to General Robert Schenck's Brigade in the Army of Northeastern Virginia under the command of General Irvin McDowell. The 2nd Ohio participated in the First Battle of Bull Run and several other major battles, including Perryville, Stones River, Chickamauga, Chattanooga, Lookout Mountain, Missionary Ridge, and were active in the Atlanta Campaign.

    Condition: With the usual mail folds, the letters are in fine condition.


    More Information:

    Henry B. Thrall served as a captain in Company B, 2nd Regiment, Ohio Volunteer Infantry. Company B was known as the "Columbus Videttes." He mustered in the service at the age of twenty-two on April 29, 1861 for an enlistment of three months, mustering out on July 31, 1861 at Columbus, Ohio.

    George D. Freeman (1842-?) served as treasurer and later as captain for the "Columbus Videttes," or Company B of the 2nd Regiment, Ohio Volunteer Infantry. As a young man he was employed as a page in the Ohio House of Representatives before entering the dry goods business of Headley & Elerly, when in 1866 he became a partner in the firm. He later became senior partner in the firm of Freeman, Stanley & Norton, who were successors of Headley & Elerly. He subsequently entered the furniture business and established his own interior furnishings company. In 1878, Freeman assumed command of the newly organized Ohio National Guard.



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    October, 2016
    19th Wednesday
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