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    Civil War Archive of Calvin Pierce, Company G, 42nd Ohio Regiment Volunteer Infantry. An extensive archive consisting of 69 letters from Pierce to a woman named Cordeal, dating from October 3, 1861 to November 28, 1864. The letters vary in size and are sent from various locations. Also included in the archive is an unsigned manuscript, five pages, 7.75" x 12.75", presumably in Pierce's hand, which presents a brief history of the 42nd Ohio Infantry.

    Pierce's earliest letter in the archive dates from October 3, 1861, when he was in Camp Chase, Ohio, before he was formally mustered in the service. The regiment departed Camp Chase in mid-December for Kentucky. His letters are addressed to a woman named Cordeal and consist of news of camp life, weather, his health, diet, missing home, and military news. As the 42nd Ohio moved through Kentucky, it saw little action until it reached Cumberland Ford, Kentucky. In a May 6 letter to Cordeal, Pierce writes, "our camp has been the scene of considerable excitement. All at once the enemy have become very bold and have come out of the Gap some 3,000 and drove in our pickets to within 4 miles of here. It is conjectured by many that they have received reinforcements and perhaps intend to attack us. Twice have we been alarmed in the night and called out into line of Battle. I wish they would come out and attack us. They might find that they had caught a 'tartar.' We will try and not let them find us napping." In a May 11 letter, Pierce describes his daily routine as an officer. "I have to get up at daybreak (4 ½ oclock) in the morning and call the company up, often allowing them 15 minutes to dress & have them fall into line and call the Roll. Immediately after Roll call I make out the Morning report and take it to the Adjutants. At 6 oclock Company drill for an hour. After this breakfast. At 8 oclock drill again for an hour, also from 10 until 11 oclock. From 11 oclock until 3 ½ oclock I devote to writing, keeping the Company Books, issuing clothing, and many other duties too numerous to mention....From 3 ½ until 5 ½ oclock we have Battalion drill, then dress Parade. After dress parade is the Surgeons call. Then I have to take the sick to the Surgeon and see that they are taken care of. Every three days I have to draw the rations for the Company and divide them out. At 8 oclock in the evening Roll call again. In half an hour lights must be extinguished."

    In a July 9, 1862 letter, Pierce proclaimed his support of General George B. McClellan. "I yet have a great deal of confidence in McClellan and if he should be defeated (which I believe he will not) at Richmond, I think the blame will rest upon other shoulders than his." By the end of July, Pierce was praising General Benjamin Butler and criticizing the government's war policy. "I believe the government is beginning to get its eyes open and are going to inaugurate a more vigorous policy in the conduct of this war. It is high time I think. Too many lives have already been sacrificed to this milk and water policy. I like Old Butler. He seems to hit the nail on the head every time. The rebels dont get the start of him any. I believe in using every means within our power to end the war. Confiscate the property of all who in any way aid and assist the rebellion. Free the slaves of all such persons and use them to perform all the manual labor in the army." In a December 15, 1862 letter, Pierce praised President Lincoln's Preliminary Proclamation. He writes to Cordeal to tell her mother "I am glad to hear that she likes Lincoln's Proclamation, it is one of the best moves that have been made since the war commenced. The Rebels begin to feel that their end is near, not three months ago and they rejected any terms of peace." Soon after writing this letter, the 42nd Ohio joined the forces of General William T. Sherman's command, and assaulted the Confederate defenses at Vicksburg, Mississippi. The 42nd engaged the enemy on December 27, 28, and 29, 1862, but failed to capture the city. Pierce mentions this effort in a January 4, 1863 letter. "Where of what we do next I cannot say. One thing is sure, we can never take Vicksburg with what force we have. We have sacrificed from 2 to 4 thousand men in killed wounded and missing and accomplished nothing. The enemy are very strongly fortified, have a very advantageous position and I believe superior numbers....Some of our Generals got a flea in their ear when they undertook to take Vicksburg."

    The Vicksburg Campaign continued under General Ulysses S. Grant and Pierce's regiment was involved in an engagement on May 1, 1863 at Port Gibson or Thompson's Hill, Mississippi. In a letter to Cordeal on May 6, Pierce describes the battle. "We met the enemy last Friday...at a place called Thompson's Hill in Mississippi. They fought us all day or until about 4 oclock in the afternoon, when we drove them from the field capturing several hundred prisoners, and several pieces of Artillery. I came out all safe as usual although our Regiment lost 75 in killed and wounded, more than any other Regiment that I have heard of in the fight...we were under fire from 6 oclock in the morning until 4 oclock in the afternoon."

    Vicksburg finally fell to Grant's Union army on July 4, 1863. The 42nd Ohio later joined the Department of the Gulf and embarked on the Western Louisiana campaign in early September 1863. Between leaving Vicksburg and arriving in Louisiana, Pierce received a promotion to lieutenant, dating from July 11. In an October 5 letter, Pierce writes of his contempt of peace Democrats such as Clement Valandigham. "There is a class of people at the north who are doing all that lies in their power to prolong the war and assist the enemy. Their constant cry is for peace, but how do they propose to bring it about. Compromise with Rebels in arms against the best government ever instituted; sacrifice our nationality and our country's honor, which should be as dear to every American citizen as his life, let the Union be divided- u never /u !...This class are using their utmost endeavors to embarrass our government in its attempts to crush the rebellion, by trying to elect such men as C. L. Vallandigham....I look upon them as just as my Enemies as those enlisted in the Confederate Army."

    The 42nd Ohio was still in Louisiana by the spring of 1864. On May 6, Pierce wrote to Cordeal of disturbing news of Union General Nathaniel Banks' disastrous Red River Campaign. "News from Red River this afternoon is very unpromising. The enemy are in force between the mouth and Gen. Banks, and have captured the 120th Regiment almost entire but few escaped....The few of the 120th who escaped managed to get ashore and took to the swamps. 9 of them came into town this evening....Genl. Banks Red River campaign does not seem to be in a very flourishing condition just now, but this news may be greatly exaggerated. I hope it may be so." On July 5, 1864, Pierce received a commission as a 1st Lieutenant.

    Calvin Pierce enlisted in the 42nd Ohio Infantry as a private in 1861 and was later promoted to the rank of 1st Lieutenant. He mustered out of service in December 1864.

    The 42nd Ohio Infantry was organized at Camp Chase in Columbus, Ohio, in September through November 1861, and mustered in for three years' service on December 7, 1861, under the command of Colonel James Abram Garfield (1831-1881), the future president of the United States. The following fall it served for a time on the Kanawha, in Western Virginia. December found it part of Sherman's army in the unsuccessful attack on the Bluffs at Vicksburg, and immediately afterwards it participated in the capture of Arkansas Post. It fought gallantly in the various battles incident to the campaign resulting in the surrender of Vicksburg, and afterwards was ordered to New Orleans. The regiment participated in several engagements, including the siege of Vicksburg, the siege of Jackson, Mississippi, and the Red River Campaign. Companies A, B, C, and D mustered out September 30, 1864; companies E and F mustered out November 25, 1864; companies G, H, I, and K mustered out December 2, 1864 (all at Camp Chase). Veterans and recruits were transferred to the 96th Ohio Infantry.

    Condition: The letters in the archive have the usual folds; otherwise good condition.


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    26th Saturday
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