Researched By Stephen J. Hartzell

The author at the 8th OVI Monument on Bloody Lane at Antietem in May of 1999.
In the background is the land upon which so many men of the 8th fell in their gallant stand.

This Marker on Bloody Lane gives some basic details of the fight.

Other 8th OVI Pages
Selected Documents From Harrison Hartzell's Pension file
Harrison Hartzell's Service Record - 8th OVI & 4th OVI
Letters From the 8th Ohio Infantry Published in the Tiffin Tribune

Fence Rails Afire in Falmouth

May 22, 1862

After the march from Catlett’s Station, the regiment arrived at Falmouth at about noon. Their brigade was ordered to encamp in a newly fenced field.

The men of the 8th Ohio were dismissed from ranks and soon the entire fence disappeared. From every direction the men returned to the camp with the fence rails, ready to burn. General King was appalled. He called up his aid-de-camp and instructed him to arrest all of the officers and order the men to rebuild the fence. The officers and men laughed and jeered, and soon the rails were burning and the dinners cooking.

Upon hearing of this display of insolence General King called up his Adjutant and ordered him to detail enough men to arrest the entire division! The Adjutant replied, “You had better keep your guards here at headquarters, for you'll be devilish lucky if they donut steal your house-roof before morning!” The General was dumbfounded, but the fence was never rebuilt.

The next day the division was reviewed by President Lincoln and Secretary Stanton without incident.

Harrison’s Landing

July 2 - August 19, 1862

On this day the 8th Ohio was united with the grand Army of the Potomac at Harrison’s Landing, becoming a part of the 2nd corps. With this army they served the remainder of their term of service

The camp at Harrison’s Landing was in a terrible state. Except around the Landing the area was covered with a dense pine forest. The men encamped there had just been through 7 days of constant battles and marches.

It had been raining steadily for days. The entire area was one enormous quagmire, and the tent stakes were not holding. The whole area was packed with troops, wagons, artillery and supplies. The worn out men awakened in the morning to find themselves lying in mud puddles with their tents collapsed on top of them. Some had nothing to sleep on or under at all. They had not had much to eat, and fires were nearly impossible to start.

Because of the bad water everyone fell sick with diarrhea, so quinine was given out in large quantities. Onions were also sent from Washington, as bad food had caused much scurvy. The flies and mosquitoes were terrible. One soldier from Co. B. commented, “Without exaggeration, the tents are black as ink owing to them. (the flies)” The camp stank horribly. The garbage pits were not adequate and the latrines were an abomination. The heat was unbearable.

The 8th Ohio initially slept on the open parade grounds, and “by companies cursed the heat.” One local newspaper commented that “There is no place known to geography and but one to theology hotter than Harrison’s Landing.” A Tiffin soldier called Harrison’s Landing “that mire of filth.” Here they remained until mid August.

By now the men had learned things about war that they had never dreamed of. Sickness and death, snipers, occasional cannonade and screaming shells overhead were all too real to them now. Even in times of inactivity they were a constant threat. Unwanted leisure time was one of their worst enemies. They now had enough of it to remember that they were homesick. Through all of these hardships they retained their confidence in the man they called “Little Mac”, General George B. McClellan. But President Lincoln did not share in that confidence.

The Contrabands

July 30, 1862

Every Union encampment contained a “Contraband Camp.” This was the area occupied by the negroes that had attached themselves to the army, and they in turn served in various capacities around the camp.

On this day Rebel batteries opened up on the camp from a position across the river at Coggin’s Point. After a few hours they were silenced by McClellan’s own battery, and very slight damage was done. A few of the the Rebel shot landed beside the Contraband Camp near the 8th Ohio. A mob of half dressed and naked Afro-Americans scattered through the camp in every direction, to the great merriment of the soldiers.

Evacuating Harrison’s Landing

August 17 - 29, 1862

The 8th Ohio took up their line of march at 6:00 am. Before departing they placed dummy pickets made with old clothing stuffed with straw, and various other devices, so that the Rebels were not aware of their departure until 2 days later. It was later learned from a captured Confederate officer that these “desperately stubborn sentinels” received many rounds of ammunition before they were finally found to be fakes.

In the line of march the 2nd Corps were assigned to the rear guard. As such they received the dust of the entire army. Regimental commander Franklin Sawyer later said that the men of the 8th Ohio, “soon looked more like an army of millers than soldiers in blue.” A Tiffin soldier says, “The weather was excessively hot and the dust was intolerable.”

Several hundred pack mules were judged as unfit to ship, and they were abandoned. After 3 miles of marching the herd of mules came chasing after them. A troop of Cavalry had to be detailed to drive them off.

On the 28th they moved through Alexandria and encamped in front of the Arlington House in full view of the city of Washington. As one soldier of the 8th Ohio described it, “At night our campfires along Arlington Heights glowed in rivalry with the gaslights of the city across the river. Here we are on guard every day against any sudden flank movement of the omnipotent Jackson.” This is a reference to the battle which had just taken place at nearby Cedar Mountain between the Confederate Stonewall Jackson and the Union's Pope, from which Pope was now in full retreat. The Army of the Potomac was now guarding the Capital.

Other 8th OVI Pages
Selected Documents From Harrison Hartzell's Pension file
Harrison Hartzell's Service Record - 8th OVI & 4th OVI
Letters From the 8th Ohio Infantry Published in the Tiffin Tribune



©1998 By Stephen J. Hartzell
All rights reserved