The following letters were written by Clinton Emory Sharp (1846-1927), the son of Stephen Alfred Sharp (1807-1886) and Hester Ann Oldham (1819-1894) of Westerville, Franklin county, Ohio.
When he was 19 years old, Clinton enlisted on 20 February 1864 in Co. A, 60th Ohio Volunteer Infantry (OVI). He took a gunshot wound in the left arm on 17 June 1864 in the first assault on Petersburg but eventually returned to his regiment and was with them until he mustered out as a sergeant on 28 July 1865.
Readers should be aware that there were two regiments called the 60th OVI. The first regiment was organized at Gallipolis in February 1862 for a one year enlistment. The second regiment by that name was organized at Cleveland and Columbus in the spring of 1864 and sent to Virginia where they fought at Spotsylvania, Wilderness and Cold Harbor before spending eight months of trench warfare in the Siege of Petersburg. After the war, one member of the regiment by the name of George Koontz in Co. I, wrote, “As our regiment was in the entrenchments nearest to Petersburg, we were the first to enter the “blockade city,” which was done early in the morning of the 3d inst. The 1st Michigan sharpshooters led the way, and the 60th Ohio followed. We found the city on fire in several places, caused by the rebels burning public stores, bridges and tobacco warehouses. The city was soon alive with Uncle Sam’s “blue birds,” and I certainly never seen troops, under similar circumstances behave themselves better. Private property, what little was left, was respected; and you could see on all hands the Union soldiers giving their rations to this half-starved chivalry, who four years ago were so defiant, proud and haughty. Not only the “white trash” were reduced to taking hard tack from our boys, but dainty-fingered ladies—real bonafide ladies—condescended to nibble them in order to keep soul and body together.” [The Gallipolis Journal, 4 May 1865]
After the war, in 1868, Clinton married Martha A. Hutches and made his living as a farmer in Delaware county, Ohio.
Camp of the 60th Ohio Volunteer Infantry
In front of Petersburg, Virginia
February 22nd 1865
I received your letter about a week ago but as I had just written to Father, I delayed on yours till now. I am well and get along fine. Pearl is well and in fine spirits. You wanted to know how we keep warm this cold weather. It is not cold here. We run around in our shirt sleeves it is so warm here.
Hensel says he lost my watch but says he will pay me for it payday.
I got a letter from Andrew about two weeks ago. He sent it to Seminary Hospital. It was sent here to me but I guess there was nothing new to you in it. I had written to him before I got Father’s letter.
Things goes on about the same as when I wrote to you last. There was some shelling here this forenoon. They throwed twenty-five a minute.
Pearl’s box has not come through yet. How much did Uncle Lewis get for his farm?
We heard this morning that Charleston was taken by Sherman. We have got about thirty men in Company A of the old boys and seventeen recruits. Captain [Elitha D.] House is not with us. He is in Columbus. One of the boys got a letter from him the other day. He thinks that he will never be able to come back again. 1
As I sit here writing to you, I can hear the Johnnies’ band playing over in Petersburg.
When you direct a letter, direct it in large, plain letters and it will come through in two or three days sooner like the one is in here. I don’t know as I have any more to write.
From your affectionate son, — C. E. Sharp
Write soon and all the news.
1 Captain Elisha D. House was wounded on 27 October 1864 in action near Petersburg and discharged on 2 March 1865 on Surgeon’s certificate of disability. He was replaced by Samuel S. Blackford who had been the 1st Lieutenant.
Camp of the 60th O. V. I.
15 miles from Petersburg
Guarding the railroad that runs to Lynchburg
April 8, 1865
It is after another great victory of the Union Army of Virginia that I take the opportunity of writing you a few lines. All of the boys from Westerville came in to Petersburg all right except Lewis Swickard. He got wounded in the right arm near the elbow in a charge on last Sunday. 1
Our brigade was the first in the town. We entered the town a little after day [break] on Monday the 3rd of April. There was not much in the town but tobacco which was plenty. When we first entered the town there was not very many white persons to be seen, but the Negroes was plenty.
We were provost guards in town for a couple of days and taken prisoners to City Point which came in by the thousands are still fetching them in and coming in of their own accord of which there is many. They seem to have hid around in the woods so as to get into our lines and get out of the clutches of Davis (which is not very long).
I must bring my letter to a close for it is beginning to rain. Write soon. From your dutiful son, — C. E. Sharp
P. S. I wish some of you would send me a paper with this battle in.
1 Sgt. Lewis Swickard entered the service in February 1864 and was discharged on surgeon’s certificate on 3 June 1865.