Captain Henry of Geauga, Part I

Of all the soldiers that filled the ranks of the 42nd Ohio Volunteers, perhaps none had a more adventurous life than that of Captain Charles E. Henry. This is no easy assertion to make considering the regimental commander was future President James A. Garfield. Besides our twentieth President, there would be Colonel Lionel Sheldon, a congressman and territorial Governor, and Colonel Don Pardee, a United States Circuit Court judge. These are men of great distinction, but their lives were somewhat sedate when compared to that of Captain Henry.

Charles Henry was born in Bainbridge, Ohio, November 29, 1835. He was the seventh of nine children born to John and Polly Henry. He weighed in at a shade under five pounds, so tiny that his family had great doubts of his survival. Despite a harsh northeast Ohio winter, little Charlie persevered. As a young boy he would note that travelers stopping by for a visit would often give him a few pennies to save. Charles took the coins and buried them near the Henry home. Months later he would forget where the treasure was buried.

Charles E. Henry as he looked in 1900.  (From the book "Captain Henry of Geauga," by Frederick A. Henry)

Charles E. Henry as he looked in 1900. (From the book “Captain Henry of Geauga,” by Frederick A. Henry)

Henry quit school at age sixteen to take on full time work. The jobs included labor in the fields, making hoops for barrels and driving teams on road construction. In just several years he had saved five hundred dollars. With the accumulated wealth, Charles decided to enroll at Hiram College. He was quite proud of the fact that he could easily pay for tuition, room and board and books. In the fall of 1857 he started classes.

An early view of the Western Reserve Eclectic Institute (now Hiram College) around the time Charles Henry was a student and James A. Garfield was the school's principal.  (Hiram College Archives)

An early view of the Western Reserve Eclectic Institute (now Hiram College) around the time Charles Henry was a student and James A. Garfield was the school’s principal. (Hiram College Archives)

Within a short time Charles became friends with James A. Garfield, currently the college principal. Despite an age difference of four years the two men became well acquainted. A year later Garfield helped his new friend find a place for room and board. For that year’s term, Charles stayed at the home of Zeb Rudolph. Charles had a fine time there, making another friend in Joe Rudolph. The two would remain pals for the remainder of their lives.

In 1859 Charles began to teach school. His first assignment was in Auburn where the school directors told him he was hired due his large size (six feet tall) and his likely ability to whip the older boys when necessary. Henry was paid twenty dollars a month for the term. The directors were probably right in hiring Charles. There were no fights during the entire school term.

The year of 1860 was a significant one for Mr. Henry. Back at Hiram, he scheduled the most challenging classes he could find, including algebra, chemistry and German. He joined the Delphic Literary Society, sometimes donating his own books to the society library. Charles recalled a particular meeting where he made eye contact with one of the members of the Olive Branch, the only female society on campus. Her name was Sophia Williams; quiet a beauty in her day. Charles left the gathering early but was stopped in the street by one of his friends. Apparently Ms. Williams was miffed that Charles left and asked his friend to bring him back. The two sat together and talked, the beginning of a courtship that would later result in marriage.

By the spring of 1861, Henry was near graduation. He spent a lot of time doing military drills on the common. The attack on Fort Sumter had already taken place, prompting many of the Hiram boys to ready themselves for war. Some would drop out of school and enlist. Charles stayed the course and graduated on June 6, 1861. His commencement oration received high praise from Principal Garfield who lifted Charles off the ground and swung him around in admiration. They were now the best of friends.

For the next two months Charles Henry mulled over his future. He had an offer to teach the winter term at the Solon school district. Dr. David Shipherd, an old family friend wanted Charles to study medicine and take over his long established practice. While debating the offers, two visitors came to see the recent graduate. They were Lieutenant Colonel Garfield and Frederick Williams, a classmate of Charles. They were on their way to Hiram to recruit soldiers for the newly formed 42nd Ohio volunteer Infantry. They would not leave until Charles accompanied them. The meeting took place that evening and the first recruit to sign up was Private Henry. Company “A” soon held elections for officers. The vote for Lieutenant was hotly contested with Charles losing by a single vote. The next day he was appointed first sergeant.

James A. Garfield was principal of the "Eclectic" when he got to know Charles Henry.  Garfield was commander of the 42nd Ohio Volunteer Infantry when Henry enlisted.  (Library of Congress)

James A. Garfield was principal of the “Eclectic” when he got to know Charles Henry. Garfield was commander of the 42nd Ohio Volunteer Infantry when Henry enlisted. (Library of Congress)

The 42nd OVI saw action in Kentucky, Tennessee and Mississippi. They took part in General Grant’s Vicksburg campaign which ended with the siege of Vicksburg. Company “A” was at the thick of it in most of the battles. A significant number of Hiram boys were killed or wounded during their three years of service. On May 22, 1863 the 42nd received orders to storm the Rebel forts protecting Vicksburg. Lieutenant Henry (a recent promotion) led the advance of Company A through a narrow valley and up the steep hills. The Rebels blasted away at the Union soldiers. Lieutenant Henry took a bullet in his left foot which shattered a small bone. He managed to slide down the slope and painfully limped to the field hospital. He received treatment and a twenty day leave to recuperate.

The twenty days leave turned into several months before Lieutenant Henry was able to report for duty. Upon his return he received orders to report to Baton Rouge, Louisiana where he would be appointed Assistant Provost Marshall. His new boss would be Colonel Don Pardee, temporarily detached from the 42nd OVI. Though not well acquainted, the two men became fast friends. The Provost Marshall’s office had a wide variety of duties to perform including keeping the peace among the residents, trying military cases and making sure the occupying army did not get too out of control. Charles made a thorough study of the law, soon acting as representation for soldiers on trial. He was not a practicing attorney but learned how to prepare an adequate defense.

Henry became adept at identifying ladies of the community who were actively involved in smuggling. After signing an oath of loyalty to the Union these women went to the area druggists and bought illegal medical supplies for sick Confederates hiding out in the country. The ladies sewed small bags inside their dresses and would load up for a visit outside town. Charles developed a knack for eyeing the ladies and recognizing strange bulges in their clothes. Most of the women he stopped were carrying contraband and wound up paying heavy fines.

Company A of the 42nd Ohio, the regiment in which Charles Henry served.   (Hiram College Archives)

Company A of the 42nd Ohio, the regiment in which Charles Henry served. (Hiram College Archives)

As an advocate for people brought to court on charges, Charles began collecting some steady fees. He and a friend represented a druggist accused of smuggling. They got him a reduced sentence and received $600 in payment. At one point a Union general ordered Henry to legally marry any freed slaves who wanted a license. Before he was relieved of duty he performed nearly 2,500 weddings. He was a popular man in Baton Rouge during his one year of service. Upon his departure a local newspaper would write, “We regret we are compelled to announce the speedy departure of our friend, Lieutenant Charles Henry. The Judge is one of those genial souls whose loss the community at large will regret.”

Charles left for home where he was mustered out of the army and brevetted to the rank of Captain. A month later he married the pretty girl from the Olive Branch Society, Sophia Williams. After a honeymoon at Niagara Falls, Charles returned to Baton Rouge where he acted as an independent advocate for soldiers and civilians. In just a few months he earned $3,000, enough to buy a one hundred acre farm in Bainbridge. Business was booming for him, enough to bring Sophia to Baton Rouge. She was not a fan of the sweltering temperature, but the Henrys stayed for a while to build up their savings.

The 42nd Ohio, including Charles Henry, saw heavy action in the fighting around Vicksburg, Mississippi. (Library of Congress)

The 42nd Ohio, including Charles Henry, saw heavy action in the fighting around Vicksburg, Mississippi. (Library of Congress)

Eventually they returned to Bainbridge where Charles put away the law books and took up farming. He threw himself into the work but the results were not promising. For some reason he never took to farming. He did not make money no matter how hard he tried to succeed. In 1867, he supplemented his income by becoming the local postmaster. This worked for two years until the job was eliminated. He then wrote a letter to old friend (now Congressman) James A. Garfield, asking for a postal clerk position with the railroad. In short order Charles got a job with the rail line from Cleveland to Youngstown to Sharon, Pennsylvania. He manned the rail car five days a week, sorting letters and newspapers and filling mailbags.

Several months later Charles proved his value to the railroad. A group of tough guys boarded his train, carrying roosters on their way to a cock fight. On the return trip the men were obviously drunk and harassing the passengers. Though not part of his duties Charles confronted the men, grabbed several and threw them off the train. This action would benefit him in later years.

(Check back soon for Part II of this article!)

-Scott Longert, Park Guide

John Rudolph: The Forgotten Son

During the course of the Civil War thousands of families sent their sons off to battle. It was fairly common for a mother and father to send two or three boys to the fight, increasing the odds that one or more would not return home. The Rudolph family of Hiram, Ohio saw both their sons, John and Joe, enter the Union army. Joe sought immediate adventure by joining the infantry while John, being the older and probably wiser, found a job with the Ohio Quartermaster Corps. Already the father of two young children, John’s position as wagon master kept him away from any duty at the front. Driving supply wagons seemed like a good idea to increase one’s chances of staying alive.

John Rudolph was born in 1835, the second child of Zeb and Arabella Rudolph. The family had a farm in Garrettsville, Ohio where John had some schooling and did his part clearing fields and harvesting crops. In 1850 the Rudolphs moved to nearby Hiram where John and his older sister Lucretia had the opportunity to get a better education.

Ellen, Joseph, John, and Lucretia Rudolph (later Garfield) pose for this photo.  Few photos of John exist.  (Lake County Historical Society)

Siblings Ellen, Joseph, John, and Lucretia Rudolph (later Garfield) pose for this photo. Few photos of John exist. (Lake County Historical Society)

There is little information about John’s activities in Hiram; however we do know in 1856 he married Martha Lane and set off on an adventure west to Iowa. Why he left his family and tried homesteading so far away is open to conjecture. Possibly he lived in his father’s shadow and decided he wanted to be his own man. Zeb was a big player in Hiram, one of the founders of the Western Reserve Eclectic Institute (later Hiram College), a preacher, farmer, and carpenter. There may not have been room for John.

While in Iowa, a daughter, Adelaide, was born. The Rudolphs did not stay long in the Hawkeye State, moving east to the small town of Princeton, Illinois. The most prominent resident of Princeton was Owen Lovejoy, a congressman and close friend of Abraham Lincoln. (Over the years the town would be home to a diverse group of residents, including actor Richard Widmark and musician Keith Knudson, longtime drummer for the Doobie Brothers.)

John had apparently given up farming, taking a job as a clerk. A short time later a second child, Gilbert, was born. By 1861 the Rudolphs were back in Hiram during which time the Civil War began. John, like most of the Hiram boys, had the option of joining the 42nd Ohio Volunteer Infantry (OVI), the regiment of his brother-in-law, Lieutenant Colonel James. A. Garfield. Instead, in June of 1862 he chose to go the safer route, answering an advertisement to drive wagons for the Ohio Quartermaster Corps. He must have had a great deal of skill with horses and wagons that led him to the job of wagon master. Here he would be in command of drivers and supplies vital to the Union army.

James A. Garfield, shown here as a Brigadier General, was the first commander of the 42nd Ohio Volunteer Infantry and the brother-in-law of John Rudoplh.  (Library of Congress)

James A. Garfield, shown here as a Brigadier General, was the first commander of the 42nd Ohio Volunteer Infantry and the brother-in-law of John Rudolph. (Library of Congress)

That same month, Private Rudolph led twelve supply wagons to eastern Tennessee, then on to the Cumberland Gap on the border of Kentucky, Virginia, and Tennessee. Union General George Morgan and his troops were holding the major passageway, but were in desperate need of food. Among the regiments at the gap were the 42nd OVI and John’s brother, Joe Rudolph. It is not recorded but quite likely the two brothers had a chance to visit for a brief moment. If they did, it was the last time the two would ever see each other.

After the journey to Cumberland Gap, John became seriously ill. High fever, severe diarrhea and bouts of delirium set in. He was sent to the army hospital in Lexington, Kentucky. Further examination revealed typhoid fever for which there was no effective treatment. During the course of the war thousands of soldiers on both sides were struck down with typhoid, usually dying within four to six weeks. Many of the soldiers drank tainted water which carried the deadly bacteria. John’s time was short.

The Rudolphs soon received word of John’s illness. His mother Arabella and sister Lucretia made their way to the hospital in Lexington. Martha Rudolph was unable to travel due to the imminent birth of twin boys, Louis and Ernest. While she reluctantly stayed home with her four children, John gave up the fight and died on August 12, 1862. He had been in the Quartermaster Corps a total of three months. His mother brought the body home for burial in Hiram. This scenario was unfortunately played out with families all over the country. Thousands of children were raised in the post-Civil War days without the benefit of a father.

Martha Rudolph chose to stay in Hiram where her children had aunts and uncles and cousins all around. Nearly ten years after John’s death she applied for a widow’s pension with the federal government. She had assistance from Congressman James A. Garfield and Hiram College President Burke Hinsdale. The request went to the Committee on Invalid Pensions for consideration and vote. On April 23, 1872 the petition was read to the committee. A congressman from Maryland asked for an explanation of the request. It was revealed that John was never mustered in the army. At the time of John’s service, wagon masters were considered part of the army and subject to the benefits of a soldier. However in September of 1862 the army changed its stance and no longer recognized wagon masters as regular army. John’s death prevented him from mustering in to military service. The matter was further discussed but due to additional objections the petition was tabled.

Congressman Garfield was present for the committee hearings. He remained silent for the proceedings, which was contrary to his usual participation. Due to his relationship with the petitioner, it is likely he decided not to voice his opinion. Perhaps there was politics in play. The Congressman who objected to the pension request was a Democrat; Garfield, of course, was a Republican. Whether or not that was the case, the petition was moved to indefinite postponement.

Senator George Edmunds, Republican of Vermont, worked behind the scenes with Representative James A. Garfield to see that John Rudolph's widow receive a pension after his death.  (Library of Congress)

Senator George Edmunds, Republican of Vermont, worked behind the scenes with Representative James A. Garfield to see that John Rudolph’s widow received a pension after his death. (Library of Congress)

At a later date, Senator George Edmunds, a Republican from Vermont and an old friend of Garfield, introduced a resolution to reconsider the pension request. Edmunds stated, “Some additional evidence has been furnished which may change the complexion of the case.” Who furnished this evidence and why was Senator Edmunds involved? Possibly the congressman from Hiram had called in a few favors behind the scenes? A vote was taken and the resolution was passed.

Within days the Committee on Invalid Pensions brought the Rudolph pension request back to the floor. Senator Daniel Pratt reported the new evidence satisfied the committee that Martha Rudolph was entitled to her request. On June 1, 1872 both the House and Senate voted to grant a pension of eight dollars monthly to John’s widow. In addition, she would receive two dollars monthly for each child until they were adults. The record stated, “That the name of Martha G. Rudolph widow of John Rudolph be placed on the rolls to receive the pension now provided by law for the widows of enlisted men who died in the service and in the line of duty.”

Martha and her children remained close to the Rudolph and Garfield families. Whenever Congressman Garfield left Washington and took a train to the Hiram area, usually one of John Rudolph’s boys would pick him up at the depot. They may have owed him a small debt of gratitude for the “evidence” that cleared the way for their mother‘s pension. Regardless of how the pension was granted, one thing is for certain; John Rudolph earned it.

Thanks to Dan Reigle of the Cincinnati Civil War Roundtable for locating the pension papers for John Rudolph.

Thanks to Bill Stark

Rudolph pension files from the National Archives, Washington D.C.

-Scott Longert, Park Guide

Colonel Don Pardee of the 42nd Ohio Volunteer Infantry, Part II

Now firmly entrenched, the 7th Division commanded the main entry point into Kentucky. They were well fortified but lacked the provisions for a long stay. Lieutenant Colonel Pardee was ordered to take five companies of his regiment and two pieces of artillery to the town of Tazewell, Tennessee where hundreds of bushels of corn were supposedly being stored. When they reached the outskirts of the town, Pardee split his force in half, leaving 200 men to defend the road leading back to Cumberland Gap. Within a short time Confederate soldiers appeared in the area. Pardee deployed his small force as skirmishers, spreading them in a line a mile long. The advancing Rebels noticed the large amount of skirmishers and believed they had stumbled on General Morgan’s main army. They fell back in a hurry, reporting the 7th Division was close by. Pardee called back his skirmishers and moved them to the woods behind the road. He had the soldiers march in a circle to fool the Confederates into thinking a large army was on the march. Gaps in the forest gave the illusion of a continuous line of men marching to the front. Several regiments of Rebels were ordered forward, but once again retreated, believing they were heavily outnumbered. Pardee had succeeded in buying time for his remaining troops to gather wagonloads of corn and flour and head back to Cumberland Gap.

At this point the Confederates began a major attack on the Union position. Pardee had his two cannon partially hidden in a sunken road. Both guns were loaded with double shots of canister. The Confederates advanced in a long line, companies marching shoulder to shoulder. When they were at point blank range the Union gunners fired, decimating the first wave of attackers. The lines broke in confusion, allowing the artillery to be pulled back and hitched to the horses. The 42nd reached the road back to camp and hurried along to safety. For the better part of a day, Pardee had held back a much larger enemy force. He brought back wagonloads of provisions to feed General Morgan’s army for several weeks. His actions showed great skill and leadership. He would receive personal thanks from General Morgan for his efforts.

Lt. Col. Don Pardee ably led the 42nd Ohio at the battle of Tazewell, Tennessee. His creative tactics led Confederate troops to believe they were facing a much larger force. Pardee’s mission at Tazewell was to secure provisions for Union troops, and he was successful. (

The Union Army’s position at Cumberland Gap proved to be tenuous. The Confederates began a siege that stopped any further attempts at foraging. In October, the 7th Division abandoned their position and marched 200 miles north to Ohio. The 42nd received new uniforms, supplies, and six months’ back pay. The enjoyed a few weeks of rest until orders arrived to join General Grant and his army set to invade Mississippi. The main objective would be the city of Vicksburg.

The first action began in late December at Chickasaw Bluffs. This area was north of Vicksburg, a good staging point for an assault on the vital Confederate city. Pardee and the 42nd were now part of the 3rd Brigade, 3rd Army of the Mississippi. General Sherman had command of the army and quickly formed plans for the attack. To assault Chickasaw Bluffs meant wading through a deep bayou with swamp on either side, crossing an open plain, then climbing hills to reach the Confederate position. The commander of the Southern troops was General John Pemberton. He had entrenchments built to shield his soldiers and placed artillery at the peak of the hills. Any Union attack on his position would result in heavy casualties. Despite the difficulty, General Sherman ordered the advance. Lieutenant Colonel Pardee led his men forward, dashing through the bayou and heading into the open area. The Confederates blazed away at the enemy and Pardee was wounded when a musket ball struck him in the boot. He continued to lead, urging his boys forward. The battle raged on, with Union casualties mounting by the hour. One by one the regiments broke, and ran for the rear. Only the 42nd held their ranks, falling back in good order. Lieutenant Colonel Pardee shouted out orders for his troops to fall in line, about face and march to the rear as if they were drilling on parade grounds. The assault would go on for another four days until General Sherman realized the bluffs could not be taken.

After spending nearly a week in the swamps and bayous, Pardee developed a high fever along with dysentery. He was confined to the field hospital while the 42nd readied for an assault on Fort Hindman. Despite the serious illness, Pardee rose from his bed, dressed and mounted his horse “Charley” to lead the attack. Within a short time he fainted and had to be carried off his horse and back to the hospital. He would remain ill for several months, but insisted on leading his regiment into battle.

Chickasaw Bluffs at Vicksburg (Library of Congress)

Pardee’s 42nd Ohio performed well under heavy fire from Confederate batteries and infantry at Chickasaw Bluffs near Vicksburg.  The assualt on Chickasaw Bluffs lasted several days until Union commanders finally realized the attacks were futile.  (Library of Congress)

The battle for Vicksburg continued throughout the spring of 1863. The 42nd fought at Thompson’s Hill, Port Gibson, and The Black River Bridge and eventually took part in the siege of the city. Lieutenant Colonel Pardee led his regiment on the field for most of the campaign. Though still suffering from camp fever, he managed to participate in the majority of the fighting. On July 4, 1863 General Pemberton surrendered his army to General Grant. The Union now had control of the entire Mississippi River, an essential piece the Confederacy could not afford to lose.

Within a month the 42nd was transferred to Carrollton, Louisiana, roughly four miles above New Orleans. Lieutenant Colonel Pardee was appointed Provost Marshal General of the Gulf Department. He used his legal background to administer the law to the Union military population. Any infractions of military rules came under his jurisdiction including criminal investigations and desertion. Pardee served his new position for one year, then re-joined the 42nd in time to muster out of service in November of 1864. He would be brevetted to Colonel and then Brigadier General in March of 1865.

The time spent in Carrollton made a great impression on Pardee. After the war ended he returned there to set up a law practice. It must have been quite interesting for the northern Yankee to do legal work for the Confederates he fought against. At the very least they surely had some great stories to tell. In 1868 Pardee was elected Judge of the Second Judicial District of Louisiana and served in that position for twelve years. In 1879 he ran an unsuccessful campaign for state Attorney General. The 1880 Presidential election was won by James A. Garfield, a close friend and former commander. Within months the new President appointed Judge Pardee to the United States Circuit Court for the Fifth Circuit. It was a job that Pardee would never give up. He served until his death on September 26, 1919. He was eighty-two years old.

The final resting place of Don Albert Pardee in Woodlaw Cemetery in Wadsworth (Medina County), Ohio.  (

The final resting place of Don Albert Pardee in Woodlaw Cemetery in Wadsworth (Medina County), Ohio. (

During the summer months, Pardee would return home to Wadsworth to visit old friends and relatives. He would be seen riding the city streets on a white horse. This imposing man would look straight ahead while he rode, looking every inch the soldier that he was.

-Scott Longert, Park Guide

Colonel Don Pardee of the 42nd Ohio Volunteer Infantry, Part I

On May 1, 1863 the Union campaign to seize the city of Vicksburg was fully underway. General Ulysses S. Grant ordered an attack at Port Gibson well south of his intended target. The goal was to secure the port, land troops, and advance north to Vicksburg. The 42nd Ohio Volunteer Infantry was in the thick of the fight. Lieutenant Colonel Don Pardee was in command of the regiment, leading his troops on several assaults on the Confederate defenses. There came a lull in the fighting where Colonel Pardee stopped to discuss his options with another Union commander. While the two spoke, a Confederate musket ball streaked inches between them. The Union commander flinched, then awkwardly backed away. Pardee never moved. He had no fear on the battlefield, a quality that many of his fellow officers did not possess.

Don Albert Pardee was born March 29, 1837 in Wadsworth, Ohio. In 1824 his father, Aaron, traveled from Connecticut to Ohio to clear land his family had purchased. He eventually built a large working farm that became quite successful as the years passed. Aaron studied law and developed a large practice that gave him enough influence to secure fifteen-year-old Don an appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy. As a midshipman Pardee excelled in his studies, rising to second in his class. Among the midshipman was George Dewey, who would later command the ships that fought against Spain in the Spanish-American War of 1898.

Don Pardee started his miltary career in the U.S. Navy.  In 1861 he received an officer's commission in the 44th Ohio, but was soon transferred to the 42nd at the insistence of Col. James A. Garfield.  (Ohio Historical Society)

Don Pardee started his miltary career in the U.S. Navy. In 1861 he received an officer’s commission in the 44th Ohio, but was soon transferred to the 42nd at the insistence of Col. James A. Garfield. (Ohio Historical Society)

Pardee became proficient in mathematics, artillery, and infantry. He had two tours of duty on the Preble, a sloop of war that sailed the eastern coast of the United States. Don was on his way to a promising naval career when his father summoned him home to help with the law practice. In 1859, after two years of study he began a practice in Medina County, Ohio. Just before the beginning of the Civil War, Pardee married Julia Hard, a local girl from Wadsworth. The bride and groom knew each other well when they were classmates at the Wadsworth district school.

In April 1861 the Civil War began. Pardee did not initially enlist due to Julia being in poor health. The Union Navy offered to reinstate him with his class but Don stayed home to care for his wife. A combination of the Southern victory at Bull Run and Julia recovering from her illness prompted the former midshipman to accept a commission as Major of the 44th Ohio Volunteer Infantry (OVI). After reporting to Camp Chase, Pardee became sought after by Colonel James A. Garfield, commander of the 42nd OVI. Garfield needed an officer with a strong military background and arranged for Pardee’s transfer to the 42nd. Pardee reported for duty and helped turn raw recruits into soldiers. One would later remark that the Major was strict in his discipline, often barking orders that made the boys jump. Frank Mason, who wrote the regimental history of the 42nd said, “His military education had made him an iron disciplinarian, but behind and with that was the strength and readiness in emergencies, that tenacity and power of command, which wins from soldiers a respect which no lighter attributes can inspire.”

In the fall of 1861, Pardee heard a ruckus on the campgrounds. He ordered a corporal from the 42nd and a detail of three privates to take care of the disturbance and arrest anyone if necessary. The guards reported back to the Major, advising there was a company of new recruits that had been out drinking. The rowdy soldiers waved their muskets at the small detail causing them to flee the scene. Pardee took the detail back to the drunken mob and showed his physical strength by disarming a number of the revelers. The new recruits suddenly became quiet. Major Pardee then ordered his detail to disarm the rest and march them to the guardhouse. All in a day’s work.

Major (later Lt. Col.) Don Pardee turned the green recruits of the 42nd Ohio into soldiers using methods and discipline he first encountered as a Naval Academy cadet and U.S. Navy officer.  (Hiram College Archives)

Major (later Lt. Col.) Don Pardee turned the green recruits of the 42nd Ohio into soldiers using methods and discipline he first encountered as a Naval Academy midshipman and U.S. Navy officer. (Hiram College Archives)

The 42nd OVI received orders to advance to northern Kentucky and set up a base in Catlettsburg. Confederates under the command of Brigadier General Humphrey Marshall had already established camp in the southern part of the state. Rumors had a detachment of Rebels occupying the town of Louisa, just south of the Union position. Colonel Garfield ordered Pardee to select forty men and attack the Confederates to determine their strength. The Major moved swiftly, finding Confederate Cavalry and sending them scattering back to the main camp in Prestonsburg. The 42nd OVI, 40th OVI, and two Kentucky regiments occupied Louisa and set up headquarters there.

With Louisa secure, Colonel Garfield quickly planned an assault of the Rebel position. He moved his brigade directly south to Paintsville where he engaged Confederate General Marshall. Garfield aggressively attacked at three separate positions causing the Confederates to retreat further south beyond Middle Creek. The Union brigade pursued, finding Marshall’s men in the hills just beyond Middle Creek. In early January1862, Major Pardee led the assault, climbing the hills to dislodge the well-entrenched Confederates. The fighting raged throughout the day until darkness forced Pardee to lead his men back down the hills.

During the night Marshall decided to burn his supplies and retreat further south into Virginia. A harsh winter delayed any further advance of the Union army. In March, Pardee led 500 men on a surprise assault at Pound Gap near the Virginia border. The Confederates were caught eating breakfast and fled the field, abandoning any hopes of occupying eastern Kentucky. Pardee received a promotion to Lieutenant Colonel.

Several months later the 42nd was attached to the 7th Division under General George Morgan for the Cumberland Gap Campaign. Pardee led a small force on a night raid to clear Rogers Gap from where the major assault would be launched. The maneuver went as planned, allowing the division to form lines for the attack. The Confederates pulled back, abandoning Cumberland Gap and moving south into Tennessee.

(Check back soon for Part II!)

-Scott Longert, Park Guide

The Story of “Uncle Joe” Rudolph

The small single engine plane flew low over Mentor, Ohio, allowing the 90-year-old passenger a good view of the scenery below. Uncle Joe waved to the children on the ground, thoroughly enjoying his first trip on an airplane. After landing he told his nephew, James R. Garfield, that he could now leave this world and meet up with his late wife and sister without embarrassment. Uncle Joe had been angry with himself for avoiding any trips on the newfangled machine.

Joseph Rudolph was born September 13, 1841 in Garrretsville, Ohio, the third child of Zeb and Arabella. He had an older sister, Lucretia, who would marry future President James A. Garfield. Joe was raised on a farm, an ideal place for a young boy to get into trouble. One summer day the younger Rudolph and a friend came upon a mud hole with a collection of hogs wallowing in it. The boys decided to chase away the animals and dive into the mud hole. It was great fun until Joe walked home to the farmhouse, where his mother somehow did not approve of the mud hole playground.

Several years later the Rudolphs moved a short distance to Hiram, Ohio so Joe’s older brother John and Lucretia could attend a more modern school. Later Zeb would build a home in the center of town where the Rudolph family lived for nearly 30 years. Joe spent his formative years here, eventually attending the Western Reserve Eclectic Institute (today’s Hiram College).

Though not a great scholar, Joe managed to handle the classwork at the Eclectic until April 1861 when the Civil War began. He and several other friends began sleeping on the floor and taking long walks before breakfast. This was done to prepare for enlistment in the Union Army. When the call for volunteers came, Joe, still shy of is twentieth birthday, joined the 19th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, a three-month enlistment. The regiment trained in Painesville where the town hotel served them meals and the Seminary girls showed them every kindness. When the 19th was transferred to Cleveland, Joe recalled the spirited farewell. He remarked, “At the station we had about the liveliest skirmish of our whole term of service. Each one of the hundred boys kissing two hundred Seminary girls goodbye, with the town girls thrown in, was a somewhat lengthy, but not tedious ceremony.”

Upon arrival in Cleveland Joe promptly deserted the 19th OVI and joined his friends in the 23rd regiment. They did their training at Camp Taylor until late June 1861, when the 23rd was ordered to Camp Chase in Columbus. A month later they left for Virginia, where the regiment saw little action until winter brought an end to the campaign. Joe camped with his friends from Hiram and survived a wave of camp fever that took the lives of a number of soldiers from the regiment.

Company A of the 42nd Ohio Volunteer Infantry, where Joe Rudolph soldiered during the Civil War. Hiram College Archives.


In late February 1862 Joe applied for another transfer, this time to the 42nd OVI, commanded by his brother in law, James A. Garfield. Joe managed to get two weeks leave in the process, allowing him to take a leisurely trip home to Hiram. After some welcomed home cooking he left for Kentucky to join Company A of the 42nd, which was made up of Joe’s classmates from the Eclectic Institute. He took part in the end of the Sandy Valley Campaign, where several regiments of Confederates were chased all the way back to Virginia.

While on duty months later in Tennessee, Joe received his first and only wound of the war. The 42nd was on a raid of the town of Tazewell, where Company A stopped a local citizen and stole his saddlebags. Among the contents was a quart bottle of whiskey. On the march back to camp Joe and the boys took several side trips to the bushes and drained the bottle. A short distance later the wobbly soldier lost his balance and fell off the trail into a pile of stones. Joe‘s forefinger got wedged under his musket, causing a severe wound. After the war he would tell a fancy tale of the incident. Joe would say, “I noticed no damage until we were in camp, where I found that the finger joint was smashed. But I am not sorry, as I have ever since been able to show that I suffered for my country.” Days later on a similar raid, Joe would see hundreds of Confederate soldiers just yards in front of him cut to pieces by Union artillery.

There were more incidents in the area near Tazewell. Rumors spread that Confederates were gathering on top of a nearby ridge. The 42nd was ordered to charge the ridge and remove the enemy troops. Halfway up the hill the boys came upon a huge berry patch. They had not eaten since the previous day. The entire regiment came to a halt, including the officers, which lead to an all-out assault of the patch. Joe would later describe the carnage. He stated, “The officers’ mouths so full of berries that they could give no orders, leastwise none that we could or cared to understand. Having filled our stomachs, we proceeded to the top. Not a Johnnie in sight.”

Joe Rudolph and his wife, Lide, at the Garfield home in Mentor, Ohio. Garfield family photo.

Of course it was not all fun and games for Joe. The 42nd took part in the Vicksburg campaign and saw serious action at Chickasaw Bluffs, Thompson’s Hill, and the Black River Bridge. They attempted a frontal assault on the city of Vicksburg, which became a futile effort to dislodge the Confederates. Joe recalled making a charge and seeing an enemy artillery shell heading right for him. He froze while the shell exploded about 40 feet from where he was standing. Fragments flew by on either side but failed to touch him.

There were many casualties at Vicksburg, the Hiram boys included. Some of the soldiers were killed by friendly fire, when clouds of smoke obscured the difference between blue and gray. On July 4, 1863 the Confederate army surrendered to General Grant. The Vicksburg campaign came to an end. Joe had “seen the elephant” after two years of hard fighting. He received a promotion to sergeant of Company “A” for his conduct as a soldier on the field.

Despite the intense fighting at Vicksburg, Joe and the boys still found time for more mischief. The 42nd was being transported on a steamer when Company “A” noticed a large barrel of fresh apples being loaded on board. They found a long pole, tied a bayonet to the end and quietly speared all the apples they could eat. The next morning they stole the captain’s breakfast by maneuvering the pole through a stovepipe opening above his table. Though the 42nd were now seasoned combat veterans and had seen the horrors of war, they still were boys at heart.

After the Vicksburg campaign, Joe was sent to New Orleans along with the 42nd. There was little to do there except court the local ladies who grew fond of the boys in blue. There would be marches and counter marches, but very little action over the next year. Joe received another promotion to Captain and Assistant Quartermaster, which meant he would stay in the army after his enlistment expired in the fall of 1864. Joe saw duty in Louisiana and Texas, where he set up warehouses and supply depots for Union brigades. He returned to civilian life in December of 1865.

In the 1880’s Joe would move to Mentor to live with his older sister, Lucretia, and his niece and nephews. He settled in the third floor apartment with his wife and his two sons. Joe became the gentleman farmer, overseeing the workers at the Garfield farm. When the United States declared war with Spain in 1898, the fifty-seven-year-old Joe attempted to enlist. Years later he was on vacation in England where he met some English soldiers on their way to action in World War I. Joe called out to the boys, saying, “I know what you are experiencing and I wish I were able to go with you!” One has to think if the soldiers had an extra rifle a certain Civil War veteran would have been seen charging out of the trenches in the French countryside.

Joe Rudolph is his later years. He was the last Garfield family member to live in the house at what is now James A. Garfield National Historic Site. Garfield family photo.

The rest of Joe’s ninety-three years were lived in quiet comfort at his sister’s home, where he was the last Garfield family member to live in the home that is now the main attraction at James A. Garfield National Historic Site.  Quiet and comfort…except for the day when a young female pilot knocked on the Garfield front door. There was still one more great adventure for Uncle Joe.

All quotes attributed to Joseph Rudolph, Pickups from the American Way, Hiram Historical Society, 1941.

-Scott Longert, Park Guide

James A. Garfield and the Civil War (Part I)

      The Civil War began in April 1861 while James A. Garfield was principal of the Western Reserve Eclectic Institute (now Hiram College) and a state senator living part-time in Columbus.  The November 1860 election of Abraham Lincoln led several southern states to secede from the Union.  Many southerners feared the election of Lincoln would bring an end to slavery, even though Lincoln was not an abolitionist in 1861.  He had stated many times that he would leave slavery alone in the southern states, but would not permit any expansion of it to the new western territories.  Lincoln and many other northern politicians supported the policy of admitting new states to the union as free states only.  Southerners believed they were entitled to bring slaves with them if they chose to settle in any of the western territories.  Despite attempts at compromise, the differences could not be overcome, leading to the bombardment of Fort Sumter and the start of the Civil War.

       Like many political figures of the day, James Garfield sought a commission as an army officer.  These politicians viewed themselves as leaders of men and thus were convinced they were officer material.  Garfield hoped for command of a regiment.  He told his roommate, future Brigadier General Jacob Cox,

“I am big and strong, and if my relations to the church and the college can be broken, I shall have no excuse for not enlisting.”

After an unsuccessful attempt to be voted in as Colonel of the 7th Ohio, Garfield waited several months until he received an offer from the Governor to be Lieutenant Colonel of the 42nd Ohio Volunteers.  He accepted the commission and then went about recruiting soldiers to fill out the regiment.  Company A was filled almost entirely with Eclectic Institute students loyal to their ex-principal Garfield.  Many of the students knew they would eventually enlist and decided to throw in with a man they admired and respected.

42nd Ohio Volunteer Infantry. Photo courtesy of Hiram College Archives.

     With help from staff officers Lionel Sheldon and Don Pardee, the 42nd’s ranks were filled, allowing the men to report to Camp Chase for training.  Garfield received a promotion to full Colonel for his recruiting efforts.  Studying every book he could find on drill techniques and battle formations, Colonel Garfield was able to train his men quickly and soon received orders to leave for Kentucky to face a small force of Confederates gathering for a possible assault on Louisville and then Cincinnati. 

Interior of Camp Chase, a military training and prison camp established in May 1861 in Columbus, Ohio. Photo courtesy of National Archives (111SC108919)

General Don Carlos Buell

    General Don Carlos Buell commanded the Department of Ohio.  In December 1861, Garfield travelled to Louisville to meet with Buell and get his orders.  He was instructed to draw up a plan of battle and submit it to Buell the next morning.  He stayed up all night studying maps of Kentucky and drew up plans for an attack.  Buell liked what he saw, awarding Garfield the command of three additional regiments, one from Ohio and two from Kentucky.  A small unit of cavalry accompanied the newly formed brigade.  The 42nd and the new additional regiments left for Catlettsburg, Kentucky on December 19, via the Ohio River.  Upon arrival a supply base was assembled there that would remain throughout the campaign.  The regiments then marched 20 miles south to the town Louisa to set up camp. 

     The Confederates opposing Garfield’s command were led by General Humphrey Marshall, an 1832 graduate of West Point and a veteran of the Mexican War.  His headquarters were in Paintsville, 30 miles south of Garfield’s position.  Marshall had three infantry regiments with him, plus artillery. 

     Garfield’s strategy was to send the 40th Ohio west to get behind Marshall, while the remaining regiments would attack from the front, catching the Confederates in a vise.  Garfield attacked in early January 1862, sending three small companies to attack the left, front, and center of Marshall’s lines.  This maneuver confused Marshall, who wrongly assumed he was under attack by 4,000 Union troops.  He ordered a retreat south, evacuating Paintsville without a fight. 

Confederate General Humphrey Marshall, photo courtesy of University of Kentucky.

     Several days later, Garfield attacked Prestonsburg.  His regiments had to ford across ice-cold creeks to get into position.  Marshall’s men were entrenched in a mountain range south of Middle Creek.  Unable to determine the Confederates’ location, Garfield sent cavalry dashing across the valley.  The startled southerners opened fire and revealed their position.  The attack lasted until nightfall, with the 42nd leading a last-minute assault up the crest of the mountain.

     Darkness ended the battle, but before Garfield could resume the attack at daybreak, Marshall burned his supplies and retreated all the way to Virginia.  Though the battle had ended in a draw, Garfield had accomplished his plan, clearing the Confederate regiments out of Kentucky.  All that was left was a rearguard at the Virginia border.  In March, Garfield moved south and attacked the rearguard, sending them retreating to Virginia and ending the campaign. 

Brigadier General Garfield, part of Brady-Handy Photograph Collection, Library of Congress.

For his efforts, Garfield received a promotion to Brigadier General and a new command of the 20th Brigade, operating in Tennessee.  The 20th saw action on the second day of fighting at Shiloh.  By then, the Confederates were in full retreat.  The 20th gave chase, exchanging fire with the rearguard.  Though there were no casualties, Garfield’s men managed to pick up 40 prisoners.

From Shiloh the 20th marched south to Corinth.  It was a slow march, led by the overly cautious General Henry Halleck.  By the time Union troops reached Corinth on May 30, the Confederates had evacuated.  Garfield fumed at the results of the campaign.  He blamed the West Point generals (including Halleck), who he believed were not really interested in winning the war and ending slavery. 

     In August 1862, camp fever and dysentery forced General Garfield to take leave from the army.  He returned home to Hiram for a long period of recuperation.  While home, friends of Garfield persuaded him to let his name be brought forward as a candidate for the United States House of Representatives.  Garfield himself stayed behind the scenes, but won a victory as a Republican congressman.  He did not have to report to Washington for a full year, which allowed him to remain in the army temporarily. 

To be continued…

-Scott Longert, Park Guide