1862: Elmore Yocum Warner to the Sandusky Register

Rev. Elmore Yokum Warner

This letter was written by Elmore Yocum Warner (1833-1886), the Chaplain of the 3rd Ohio Volunteer Cavalry (OVC). Elmore accepted his commission on 11 December 1861 and remained with the regiment until 1 August 1862 when he resigned and returned to his home in North Fairfield, Huron county, Ohio. [Note: the regimental roster erroneously recorded his name as “Edward” rather than “Elmore.”]

Warner’s letter is obviously just a draft of a letter that he addressed to the “Register.” This was undoubtedly the Sandusky Daily Commercial Register which had previously published a couple of his other letters, one in January 1862 calling upon citizens to donate books for a traveling library in the regiment, and another one written from Jeffersonville, Indiana, in March 1862 as the regiment readied itself for a march into “Secech Land,” saying, “We are near enough to know something of the beating of the Secesh pulse, which we believe grows fainter every day, and will soon cease to beat forever—leaving the ghostly carcass of Secession prostrate—a stench, and yet a valuable lesson to the world.

If Warner ever sent a final copy of this draft to the newspaper editor, I could not find it among the on-line issues of the paper. Perhaps he thought best not to send it, or maybe the editor decided the chaplain’s sentiments didn’t not seem very charitable—especially since Warner apparently was the recipient of charity from a secesh family when he fell ill in March 1862.

An obituary for Warner published in the Wayne County Democrat on 14 July 1886 said of him:

“This well-known minister of the North Ohio Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and son of the late Rev. Jesse Warner, was born in Wayne County, July 3, 1833, and died in Norwalk, Oh., July 6, 1886, aged 53 years. Mr. Warner, after a faithful use of the educational advantages furnished by the common schools, entered the Ohio Wesleyan University and while he did not complete the course, he did lay the foundation of a respectable scholarship, which enabled him to pursue so intelligently his future studies in connection with his ministry that, subsequently, the Faculty and Trustee of the University felt justified in conferring upon him the honorary degree of Master of Arts. He was married in 1857 to Maria Lee, of Huron county, who survives, with five children, one of whom is also a minister, and represents the third generation of the same line in succession in the same Conference. During the Civil War, Warner served as chaplain of the 3rd Ohio Cavalry and was on the field of Shiloh; but the exposure in the service being too severe for a constitution not naturally robust, he secured his discharge, but had already laid the foundation of the disease to which, after heroic struggle for years, he had, at last, to yield….”

At least one other letter of Warner’s is known to exist which is housed in the collections at Western Michigan University Archives. The letter was written on 24 March 1862 (two weeks before the Battle of Shiloh) and is summarized as follows by the curator:

It is filled with general news. He talks about that the regiment may be on the way further south. Warner had been sick but felt better. He had stopped at the house of a widow and five daughters who helped him even though all their friends had been in the Confederacy. He reported that the ladies, “…don’t know anything about cooking.” He stated that he had not heard from her in almost four weeks and “…give me at least the scratch of your pen…” The small addition dated March 27 states that Warner is homesick and wants to go home to see his wife.

See also: Solomon Shoman, Troop I, 3rd Ohio Cavalry (Union/3 Letters)

Three troopers from the 3rd Ohio Cavalry and two dressed in Civilian clothes; the civilian at right almost looks like he could be Rev. Warner. (Library of Congress)

Transcription

Headquarters 3rd Ohio Cavalry
Woodville, Alabama
July 18, 1862

Dear Resister,

We are now with two battalions of one regiment about twenty miles northeast from Huntsville near Woodville Station on the Memphis & Charleston Railroad. We came here for the purpose of ferreting out some guerrilla and bushwhacking bands who infest the mountains in this vicinity. Lieut. Col. [Douglas A.] Murray is in command, Col. [Lewis] Zahm having gone home on leave. The first battalion under command of Major Foster is with the division near Winchester.

Much hard scouting has been done by the men over a rough mountainous country, scarcely passable for cavalry. A great many prisoners have been taken, some of whom confess to belonging to the bushwhackers. There are several companies of these desperadoes as near as we can discern who are ranging through these mountains shooting down straggling soldiers and Union men adn watching every opportunity of pouncing upon trains and small parties of troops. A man by the name of Harris was captured the other day who confessed to having been one of the party who captured four sutler teams a few days since with all the goods and to have participated in eating & drinking some of these stores. One of the teams belonged to Mr. Drennan, sutler of the 64th Ohio Volunteers. A force is going out today who think they have track of the wagons and teams.

Two or three nights ago our pickets were attacked by a small force but were almost immediately repulsed by the watchful sentinels. The alarm was instantly given in camp and although the men were mostly asleep, it was but the work of a minute for them to get out in line ready to receive the enemy. The general desire was to see them come and I think from the position we hold that our men would have cordially received a force even greatly superior to our own but they chose not to come.

I do not think that there is any considerable force anywhere in this region of country but the guerrilla warfare has fairly opened and the manner in which it is carried on is disgraceful to any civilized nation and the villainy and deception practiced [by] them is without a parallel. Nearly all claim to be Union men in our presence, but when inquired of among the bushwhackers, they know nothing and never ever heard of such things. When we go to find those who do engage in this work, we find them quietly working in their fields apparently as innocent as the unborn but no sooner do we leave them than they join the gang again. They can lie and put on the most perfect air of innocence of any persons I ever saw. I don’t believe the devil in hell can begin to match them.

Quite a number of persons have been shot recently in this neighborhood by these pretended Union men. While we were encamped at Decatur, two men from Co. A were bringing in three prisoners when they were fired upon from the bushes, killing one of them—Jacob Bauman. The other made his escape into camp. One of the prisoners was said to be killed [and] the other two escaped. Such are almost daily occurrences.

Now the question arises then, [how] ought we to deal with such villains and murderers? I need not answer this question. All true loyal hearts will unite in saying deal severely with them—punish them as their crimes deserve. Let me propound a few other questions which your readers may have to think of. Is it right while passing through a country like this to afford every protection to the property of those who have brought upon us this cruel war—who have done and are doing all in their power to sustain and carry it on to the bitter end?

Is it right after our soldiers have been on a hard march in the heat and dust to compel them to stand guard over the premises of those who would take their life if they dared and if perchance that soldier who thus gives protection, when hungry, should take a few onions, apples, or a chicken, even if he should be arrested and punished in a brutal savage manner?

More, is it right to place our brave soldiers upon half rations and give or sell the other half to secessionists? Yet all these things are done. Knowing this, what should be the voice of the people? What should they demand? I leave them to answer and to say whether it is for this purpose they have given up their loved ones.

We had hoped that ere this, this dreadful war would have been brought to a close but still it lingers and will until rebels and secessionists are treated as they deserve. May that change in the conduct of this war for which we have so long looked soon come, that we may again hope for an end of these things.

Yours truly, – E. Y. Warner

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s