KELLEYS ISLAND 1862-1865
The Civil War, the Island Soldiers, & the Island Queen
by Leslie Korenko, book 2 in the series
This little island had almost 100 soldiers fighting in the Civil War One of these men died of wounds from the battle of Stone River and four men died of disease contracted while in service Another five soldiers were wounded and at least six more were discharged on Surgeon’s Certificates of Disability Several Island men were captured by the Rebels: August Raab went to Belle Isle Prison, Douglas O Kelley was wounded by a guard while at Libby Prison and Jacob Rush helped lead an escape attempt at Cahaba Prison and survived the Sultana Disaster.
Island men proudly served in the 24th, 38th, 199th, and 101st Ohio Infantry, the 1st Ohio Heavy Artillery, the 3rd Ohio Cavalry, and the 130 Ohio Volunteer Militia (the 100-Day Men).
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This is Kelley’s Island During the Civil War
HARD FIGHTING BY ISLAND SOLDIERS -“He says: The battle lasted five days and the rebels were bound to gain it but they failed Our regiment stood the best of any of the Cavalry, 4,000 of the rebel cavalry made seven charges on them They came down yelling, but our Regiment did not stir I tell you, we untied the Rebel’s saddles They went back and came again and were drove back with a heavy loss But G-d, there is no use in talking, the rebels will fight When our guns opened on them with the 1st Ohio battery, they killed 800 of the rebels with one volley You would think that would check them but it did not They would close up again and come up I rode my horse in the thickest of it all the while It is the hardest battle that ever has been fought There was 30,000 dead and wounded lying on the field.” [January 1863]
THE WINE INDUSTRY – “You have extensive distilleries there,’ said [President Lincoln] Somewhat surprised at this remark, since no reference had been made hereto, your correspondent stated that there was only one, and that not a large concern, still sufficient for the wants of community That though the quantity made was small, the value was great, as the Brandy made there was worth $12 to $15 per gallon at the works.” [January 1863]
THE ISLAND’S GROWTH -“In 1840 the population was 168 In 1850 about 300 and in 1862 just an even 600, which supports a tolerably well filled one-horse country store with sales of $16,000 per year A Post Office, black smith shop, two shoemakers, three common schools, one hotel, several small groceries, a distillery, and sundry and diverse other institutions or more or less practical uses and advantage to the Island To say nothing of the Islander, Island Queen, Gazelle, and the Literary Society.” [January 1863]
MARITAL ADVICE -“My sister Should you ever have occasion to correct your husband for the commission of a fault or the omission of a duty (as undoubtedly you will) always perform the affectionate duty with the soft end of the broom and not with the handle For the first six weeks at least.” [February 1863]
SOCIAL CUSTOMS -“It is true, if you spit all over the stove and floor, the women will scold, or if you are a stranger, they will think scold till you are gone and then they will let out If you use a spittoon, some luckless child will fall down on it or tip it over and then you will catch particular fits over the poor child’s shoulders, for tipping over the confounded nasty thing I think myself, though I would not like to say it, if the case was reversed and I had it to clean up every time, I should tell my wife to leave off that filthy habit, or leave the house.” [February 1863]
A SOLDIER DIES -“Simon died Monday morning at 10 minutes before 8 That he was very cheerful all the while he was there and did not suffer much pain He had his senses until within about 10 minutes before he died and thought he saw his mother and heard her voice in the room I told him there was no woman in the room at all He said he thought it was her He never was conscious that he was going to die A few minutes before he died he said he felt queer, and sank away as contented as he would to go to sleep.” [January 1863]
THE CANADIAN INVASION -“The company was ordered together at 3 o’clock in the Hall where extra ammunition was distributed and the company ordered to sleep on their arms at the Hall that night so as to be ready for service at a moments warning.” [January 1864]
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TRAVEL OVER THE ICE -“After a while we got started again and went to within half a mile of the water, when our boat load and all broke through the ice I believe it is a well-known fact that all small boats leak If they are ‘ironclad’ they must have a hole near the top to let the water in At least this one had and I could see no other use for it.” [February 1864]
A SOLDIER IN PRISON -“On the 2nd of March, the Alabama River rose to such an extent that our prison and town of Cahawba were flooded and on the 4th we had from 2 to 6 feet of water all over our prison and not until the 11th did the water go down so that we could do any cooking.” [March 1864]
COURT CASES -“This day, October 18, came Mr Stoke and made oath that one Bell Cole, late of Erie County, did steal from him two dresses, two petticoats, two cloth coats, one pr drawers $1, two silk dresses each $30 and $15, one reticule $1.50, two petticoats $5 and $2…two cloth coats $12 and $3, one pair stockings $1, one ladies hat $3, among other things [September 1865]
Leslie’s first two books received the Henry Howe Award for outstanding Ohio history books from the Ohio Genealogical Society at the OGS conference in Cleveland, 2012.