Civil War Dads

 

"Suffer hardship with me as a good soldier of Christ Jesus..." II Timothy 2:3-4

 

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William Fletcher Hughey
 

 

The catalyst that sparked Steve's interest in the Civil War is the diary (see sample entry below) of his great-great grandfather, William Fletcher Hughey of Yellowbud, Ohio. William served as a private in the 73rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry (battle flag to the right, used with permission), and later in the 19th Veteran Reserve Corps, from October 1861 to January 1865. He enlisted one week before his 17th birthday (born November 5, 1844). His military records indicate that he stood 5'7" with brown hair and blue eyes. Steve is also excited to have recently been given William's Civil War New Testament Bible by God's miraculous provision.

 

William was severely wounded on October 29, 1863 at the Battle of Wauhatchie in Tennessee (see diary entry below). He was shot in the face, right wrist, and left shoulder and spent 6 months in 3 Union hospitals before transferring to the Veteran Reserve Corps in March 1864 to finish his enlistment term. William did, however, accompany his regiment home for a furlough in February 1864. He is in the picture on the left (click to enlarge, used with permission) of the 73rd Ohio taken on Paint Street in Chillicothe, Ohio on February 18, 1864. The buildings you see in the background are still there today.

 

After the war, William returned to Yellowbud and married in 1868. He fathered 5 children but only his two daughters survived to adulthood. In 1880 he graduated from the Columbus Medical College (later part of Ohio State University) and returned to Yellowbud to establish his practice as evidenced by this advertisement for Harter's Iron Tonic on the left (click to enlarge and notice his last name is spelled incorrectly). He was also active in local Republican politics and in the G.A.R. (Grand Army of the Republic, a veterans organization). The picture on the right is of G.A.R. Post 338 and was taken in Yellowbud in 1886 (click to enlarge). William is the first person on the far left and has a very long beard. Family lore says that he wore a beard to hide the damage to his face from his gunshot wound.

 

In 1902, William completed a new office next to his home for his medical practice (the home and office remain to this day). However, his health was failing and his war wounds were taking their toll. The wound to his face had left William with no lower left jaw bone or teeth. All of his remaining teeth were removed in 1902. He could not be fitted with dentures because of the severe pain from nerve damage in his mouth. Also, the scar tissue on his right wrist made it very painful and difficult to use his right hand. William died on July 23, 1906 at the age of 61, having paid the price for his service in the Union army for the last 43 years of his life.

 

_____________ William's Diary _____________

 

William kept a diary for the year 1864 when he was convalescing from his battle wounds and serving in the Veteran Reserve Corps. At the end of his diary, he recounts the battle in which he was wounded. Below is the full text from William's diary describing the battle scene from one of the rare night battles of the Civil War, the Battle of Wauhatchie, which took place in the foothills surrounding Lookout Mountain on the outskirts of Chattanooga, Tennessee during the late hours of October 28 and early morning hours of October 29, 1863.

 

In a few minutes time orders came from General Hooker [Brigadier General Joseph "Fighting Joe" Hooker] for the 73rd Ohio and the 33rd Massachusetts to clear a portion of the mountain, no sooner ordered than commenced. We were ordered to load and move steadily up the mountain.

In a short time we were hailed by an enfilading volley which mowed our brave boys down like chaff before the wind. And the volley was returned with promptness and ______. Maj. Hurst [Major Samuel H. Hurst] at the head of the ______ saying ______ to be steady and cool, yet we were met by volley after volley and each was answered by as prompt as could be, for it was almost impossible for us to load and move forward at the same time as it was very dark, being by this time midnight, and the mountain was thick with bushes, trees, and tree tops making [it] almost impossible to get along. Yet we moved forward steadily and with a determination to conquer or fall in the effort, and on we went.

At last we began to get very close. Men were falling in every direction, screaming and crying with pain. The Maj. gave the order to fix bayonet and charge, and we did charge, and we did charge with a zeal worthy of the cheers, moving forward amid cheers and yells, firing and falling by scores. We were getting in very close quarters, almost within reach of the points of our bayonets, and feeling as though we were certain of victory and thinking of nothing but victory. When alas my hopes were all blasted, and that very suddenly, for all of a sudden I was struck in the face, as I thought by a cannonball, and for a moment thought my whole head was shot away, but my presence of mind did not desert me.

I put my hand up to feel and found that it was not as bad as I supposed, but found it bad enough, for I found that my jaw was broken and my mouth cut about 4 inches longer than its usual length. At the same time I felt a sharp pain run through my right wrist and hand, and felt it fall useless and powerless to my side, and very soon found that my right wrist had also been pierced by a minni ball, and at the same time I felt a pain in my left shoulder and afterwards found upon examination that I also had a slight wound in my left shoulder. All of this query and examination occupied a space probably of five minutes, all of which time the boys were steadily driving the enemy.

After examining and ascertaining that my wounds were not so bad as I supposed, although they were very serious, I made an attempt to go to the rear as the balls were falling too thick for to be healthy for a wounded man, so I made for the rear as fast as I could in consequence of the bushes and treetops. I just made out to get out of range of the enemy’s guns when I fainted away from the loss of blood, but very soon my regimental doctor found me, got me in an ambulance, and sent me to the rear. In the same ambulance was my second Lieut. seriously wounded and Capt. James Q. Barnes. About ten o’clock that morning our wounds were dressed.

 

   

   

 
 

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