Portraits of heroes

After the Civil War, my great-grandfather Edwin L. Lybarger compiled a portrait album of the Union Army commanders and friends he admired. The album has a tooled, hard leather cover and measures 5″ wide, 6″ high and 2″ thick, latched with two elaborate gold hinges. The album contains one carte de visite per page, each in its own gold-edged pocket. A numbered index identifies most of the photographs, although some need no introduction.

Page 1: Abraham Lincoln

Edwin Lybarger was a staunch Lincoln supporter. From his diary:

Nov. 8, 1864: In camp near Marietta, Ga. Election day. Voted for “Ole Abe.”

From Wisconsin soldier Ed Leving’s diary: “A soldier who votes for McClellan, is looked upon by his comrades as an ignoramus or a coward & wants to get out of the service & so votes for McClellan.”

The former Union general of the Army of the Potomac was the Peace Democrats’ candidate, and veteran soldiers wanted nothing to do with him or his party. President Lincoln was re-elected with the vote of 86% of the soldiers, and 55% of the total vote. Within a week, Sherman led his army on the March to the Sea. (from The March to the Sea and Beyond by Joseph Glathaar, 1985)

Page 3: Gen. William T. Sherman

In his diary, Edwin records the night of March 5, 1865 in Cheraw, South Carolina, when he met Gen. Sherman face to face and was impressed by the general’s “colloquial powers.”

Page 4: Brig. Gen. James McPherson

During the Union’s Atlanta campaign in 1864, McPherson took command of the Army of theTennessee, reporting to Gen. Sherman.

From Lt. Edwin Lybarger’s diary:

June 22, 1864: Moved from Roswell Ga.to the front. The Army of the Tenn. attacked by the rebs. Gen. McPherson killed. The enemy repulsed with terrible slaughter. Our Brigade (Sprague’s) driven out of Decaturwith a loss of 254 men. The 43rd came up too late to participate.

June 23: Marched in to Decatur found the enemy had left. Buried our dead and brought off our wounded. Tore up the railroads for twenty miles towards Augusta Ga.

Page 5: Col. John Fuller

From Aug. 1861, Fuller was colonel of the 27th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, a regiment with six month’s experience in the field by March 1862, when Edwin’s 43rd OVI left Ohio for the first time and arrived in Missouri. Gen. Pope, commanding the Army of the Mississippi, banded the 27th Ohio, 39th Ohio, 43rd Ohio and 63rd Ohiointo a brigade. In July 1862, Col. Fuller, formerly a book publisher in Toledo, Ohio, was given command of the Ohio Brigade.

Page 10: Col. Joseph L. Kirby Smith, 43rdOhio Volunteer Infantry (1862)

Colonel Smith, a West Point and Pennsylvania man, was the first colonel of the 43rd OVI, greatly admired by the Ohio men in his command. At the second Battle of Corinth, on Oct. 4, 1862 he was shot in the head and fell from his white horse while rallying the regiment. Amid the hard-fought battle, word swept the regiment that Smith had been killed. Lt. Col. Wager Swayne filled the breach to rally the stunned regiment and successfully defend Battery Robinett, helping the Union win the battle. To the regiment’s relief, Col. Smith had not been killed on the field, but sadly succumbed to his moral wounds on Oct. 12, 1862.

Page 11: Col. Wager Swayne, 43rdOhio Volunteer Infantry (1862-1865)

A lieutenant colonel in the 43rd OVI during the second Battle of Corinth that mortally wounded Col. Smith, Swayne became its colonel after Col. Smith died. On Feb. 3, 1865, Swayne was severely wounded while crossing the swampy Salkahatchie River in South Carolina. While helped to an ambulance wagon, he kept repeating, “The Lord sustains me.” He was successfully evacuated to New York City, losing his leg but surviving.

My great-grandfather admired Swayne more than any other officer, as evidence that he named his only son Harry Swayne Lybarger. Family documents include a letter from Swayne to Edwin and his first wife Sophronia after the war, assuring him that he’s very much looking forward to meeting “little Wager,” presumably an infant son who was his namesake. But little Wager must have died in infancy; the  family has no other evidence or information about him. Edwin and Sophronia had no other children before her death in 1882.

Harry Swayne Lybarger, born in Spring Mountain, Ohio, was Edwin’s only child with his second wife, Nancy Moore, born when she was 44 years old and Edwin was 48. Years later, Harry wrote: “I met the great Colonel Swayne once at Mount Vernon, Ohio, in 1897, when he came from his law office in New York City to attend the Grand Encampment of the Grand Army of the Republic of Ohio, the year my father was its commander.”

Page 12: Col. Horace Park, 43rd OVI (1865)

Park began the war as captain of Company F in the 43rd OVI, from Oct. 1861, an indication that he helped to raise the company (100 volunteers). He was the regiment’s lieutenant colonel when Col. Swayne was wounded in South Carolina, assumed command and was promoted to colonel. He mustered out with the regiment on July 13, 1865.

Page 14: Lt. Col. John H. Rhodes, 43rd OVI (and former Co. K captain)

John Rhodes began the war as a sergeant in Company B of the 43rd regiment, then became captain of Company K in early 1862, after the illness and resignation of the first (and recruiting) captain, William Walker. Rhodes was a lieutenant colonel of the regiment by the end of the war, and mustered out with the regiment on July 13, 1865.

A sketch of Sgt. Edwin Lybarger reading an Army manual is signed “J.H.Rhodes.”

John Rhodes and Edwin Lybarger remained lifelong friends.

Page 16: Dr. Francis M. Rose, Surgeon, 43rd OVI (1862-1865). Dr. Rose probably saved Edwin’s life and leg after he was wounded at the 2nd Battle of Corinth in 1862.

43rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry

Col. Joseph L. Kirby Smith, 1st colonel of 43rd OVI (1862)

Col. Wager Swayne, 43rd OVI (1862-65)

The 43rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry was organized at Camp Andrews in Mount Vernon, Ohio from September 28, 1861 through February 1, 1862. The regiment mustered in for 3 years service under the command of Colonel Joseph L. Kirby Smith, and served in the Army of the Mississippi’s “Ohio Brigade,” under Col. John Fuller, with the 27th, 39th, and 63rd Ohio regiments. The 43rd transferred to the Army of theTennessee in late 1862. In late 1863, the majority of the regiment re-enlisted for 3 years.

 

Battles:

Battle of Island No. 10

Siege of Corinth

Battle of Iuka

Second Battle of Corinth

Atlanta Campaign

Battle of Resaca

Battle of Dallas

Battle of New Hope Church

Battle of Allatoona

Battle of Kennesaw Mountain

Battle of Atlanta

Siege of Atlanta

Battle of Jonesboro

Battle of Lovejoy’s Station

Sherman’s March to the Sea

Carolinas Campaign

Battle of Bentonville

Casualties:

The 43rd Ohio Infantry lost a total of 256 men; 4 officers and 61 enlisted men killed or mortally wounded, 2 officers and 189 enlisted men died of disease. The regiment mustered out of service at Louisville, Kentucky on July 13, 1865.

43rd OVI Itinerary:

1862

Feb. 21: Left Ohio for Commerce, Mo.

Mar. 3-14: Siege operations against New Madrid, Mo.

Mar. 14-April 8: Siege and capture of Island No. 10, Mississippi River, and capture of McCall’s forces at Tiptonville, Mo.

Apr. 13-17: Expedition to Fort Pillow, Tenn.

Apr. 18-22: Moved to Hamburg Landing, Tenn.

Apr. 29: Action at Monterey.

Apr. 19-May 30: Advance on and siege of Corinth, Miss.

May 8: Reconnaissance toward Corinth.

May 30-June 12: Occupation of Corinth and pursuit to Booneville.

June 13-Sept. 11: Duty at Clear Creek until August 20, then at Bear Creek.

Sept. 19: Battle of Iuka, Miss.

Oct. 3-4:Battle of Corinth.

Oct. 5-12: Pursuit to Ripley.

Nov. 2, 1862-Jan. 12, 1863: Grant’s Central Mississippi Campaign.

1863

Jan. 12 – April: Duty at Corinth.

Apr. 15-May 8: Dodge’s Expedition to northern Alabama.

Apr. 22: Rock Cut, near Tuscumbia.

Apr. 23: Tuscumbia.

Apr. 28: Town Creek.

May-Oct.: Duty at Memphis, Tenn.

Oct. 1863-end of year: Duty at Prospect, Tenn.

1864

Jan.: Home furlough

Jan-Feb: Duty at Prospect, Tenn.

May 1-Sept: Atlanta Campaign.

May 8-13: Demonstrations on Resaca.

May 9: Sugar Valley, near Resaca.

May 13: Near Resaca.

May 14-15: Battle of Resaca

May 18-25: Advance on Dallas.

May 25-June 5: Operations on line of Pumpkin Vine Creek and battles about Dallas, New Hope Church, and Allatoona Hills.

June 10-July 2: Operations about Marietta and against Kennesaw Mountain.

June 27: Assault on Kennesaw.

July 2-5: Nickajack Creek.

July 3-4: Ruff’s Mills.

July 6-17: Chattahoochie River.

July 22: Battle of Atlanta.

July 22-Aug. 25: Siege of Atlanta.

Aug. 25-30: Flank movement on Jonesboro.

Aug. 32-Sept. 1: Battle of Jonesboro.

Sept. 2-6: Lovejoy’s Station.

Sept. 29-Nov. 3: Operations against Hood in northern Georgia and northern Alabama.

Nov. 15-Dec. 10: March to the Sea, in Georgia.

Dec. 9: Montieth Swamp.

Dec. 10-21: Siege of Savannah.

1865

Jan.-Apr.: Campaign of the Carolinas.

Jan. 20: Reconnaissance to the Salkehatchie River, S. C.

Feb. 2: Skirmishes at Rivers and Broxton Bridges, Salkehatchie River.

Feb. 3: Actions at Rivers Bridge, Salkehatchie River.

Feb. 9: Binnaker’s Bridge, South Edisto River.

Feb. 12-13: Orangeburg, North Edisto River.

Feb. 16-17: Columbia.

Mar. 3: Juniper Creek, near Cheraw.

Mar. 19-20: Battle of Bentonville, N.C.

Mar. 24: Occupation of Goldsboro.

Apr. 10-14: Advance on Raleigh.

Apr. 14: Occupation of Raleigh.

Apr. 26: Bennett’s House.

Apr. 29-May 22:  Surrender of Johnston and his army. March to Washington,D.C., via Richmond, Va.

May 24: Grand Review of the Armies.

June: Moved to Louisville, Ky.

July 13: Regiment mustered out of service.

Organization:

The regiment was attached to 1st Brigade, 1st Division, Army of the Mississippi, to March 1862. 2nd Brigade, 1st Division, Army of the Mississippi, to April 1862. 1st Brigade, 2nd Division, Army of the Mississippi, to November 1862. 1st Brigade, 8th Division, Left Wing, XIII Corps, Department of the Tennessee, to December 1862. 1st Brigade, 8th Division, XVI Corps, to March 1863. 4th Brigade, District of Corinth, Mississippi, 2nd Division, XVI Corps, to May 1863. 3rd Brigade, District of Memphis, Tennessee, 5th Division, XVI Corps, to November 1863. Fuller’s Brigade, 2nd Division, XVI Corps, to March 1864. 2nd Brigade, 4th Division, XVI Corps, to September 1864. 2nd Brigade, 1st Division, XVII Corps, to July 1865.