Monday, August 12, 2013

The Generals and a Small Catholic Church in Ohio

Saint Joseph's was the first Catholic Church in Ohio, founded at Somerset by Edward Fenwick, a Dominican priest, on land donated by Jacob Dittoe.    On Sunday's in the 1830s you would find a redheaded boy attending services there along with his foster brothers and sisters of the Ewing family and the small children of John and Mary Sheridan.  Five of the congregation's children would become famous Union army generals.

Major General Hugh Boyle Ewing, commanded the 30th Ohio and Scammon's Brigade at Antietam, and the 4th Division of XV Corps during the assault on Missionary Ridge at Chattanooga.  Post-war: Minister to Holland

Major General Thomas Ewing, Jr., commanded the 11th Kansas regiment, promoted to general after the battle of Prairie Grove, led the defense of Fort Davidson at Pilot's Knob against Sterling Price's invasion of Missouri in 1864.  Issued General Order No. 11 after the Quantrill massacre at Leavenworth, Kansas, expelling Confederate sympathizers from western Missouri. 
Post-war: defended Dr. Samuel Mudd, Samuel Arnold and Edmund Spangler during the Lincoln conspiracy trials.  Prevailed on his 11th Kansas comrade Senator Edmund Ross to vote against the Johnson impeachment.  Congressman from Ohio.

Brigadier General Charles Ewing, severely wounded at Vicksburg, promoted for gallant conduct at Missionary Ridge and during the Atlanta campaign.  
Post-war: Catholic Commissioner for the Indian Missions.

General of the Army of the United States William Tecumseh Sherman, commanded Union troops from Bull Run through the surrender of the Confederacy.   Led the Union armies that prevailed during the Atlanta, Savannah ("The March to the Sea") and Carolinas campaigns. 

My aim then was to whip the rebels, to humble their pride, to follow them to their inmost recesses, and make them fear and dread us. "Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom." I did not want them to cast in our teeth what General Hood had once done at Atlanta, that we had to call on their slaves to help us to subdue them. But, as regards kindness to the race ... I assert that no army ever did more for that race than the one I commanded at Savannah.

Garrison Frazier, a Baptist minister, declared in response to an inquiry about the feelings of the black community:
We looked upon General Sherman, prior to his arrival, as a man, in the providence of God, specially set apart to accomplish this work, and we unanimously felt inexpressible gratitude to him, looking upon him as a man that should be honored for the faithful performance of his duty. Some of us called upon him immediately upon his arrival, and it is probable he did not meet [Secretary Stanton] with more courtesy than he met us. His conduct and deportment toward us characterized him as a friend and a gentleman.
Four days later, Sherman issued his Special Field Order No. 15. The orders provided for the settlement of 40,000 freed slaves and black refugees on land expropriated from white landowners in South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida.

Post-war: Commanding General of the United States Army.

Famous quote:  "War is Hell."

General of the Army of the United States Phillip Sheridan, personally led his division to the top of Missionary Ridge during the Battle of Chattanooga.   Commanded the Union army cavalry during the Overland Campaign, when his troops killed J.E.B. Stuart at Yellow Tavern.  Commanded the Army of the Shenandoah in its victories at Winchester and Cedar Creek.  Cut off the Confederate retreat from Richmond at the Battle of Sayler's Creek forcing Robert E. Lee's surrender at Appomattox.  

Post-war: Commanded the Union forces that pacified Texas and Louisiana, aiding Benito Juarez in the expulsion of the French from Mexico.   Removed from command by President Johnson for "overzealously" enforcing Reconstruction.  Commanding General of the United States Army who vigorously supported the establishment and protection of Yellowstone Park.

Famous quote:  "If I owned Texas and Hell, I'd rent out Texas and live in Hell."