Erie County and Ohio (and throughout the United States), will be commemorating events, sites, and people that played significant roles in the war. In this article, we will offer a very brief introduction to some of the many items of historical and genealogical interest relating to the Civil War that can be found in the collections of the Sandusky Library, including the Archives Research Center.
In the genealogy book collection is the multi-volume set, Official Roster of the Soldiers of the State of Ohio in the War of the Rebellion, 1861-1868.
If you know the company and infantry unit of the soldier you are researching, simply go to the appropriate volume of the Roster. A microfilmed index of Ohio soldiers is located in the Archives Research Center. Ancestry Library Edition, a ClevNet research database, can also help you find the unit of a Civil War soldier. Chapter 8 of the History of Erie County, Ohio, edited by Lewis Cass Aldrich is devoted to the Military History of Erie County. A separate index in the back of this book lists the names of all the individuals mentioned in the chapter.
Several books about the Civil War are stored in the Archives, but can be viewed up upon request. Titles include:
The Military History of the 123rd Regiment, OVI, by C. M. Keyes
Letters Home, by Jay Caldwell Butler
Citizen Soldier, by John Beatty
Reminiscences of the Civil War and Andersonville Prison, by Emogene Niver Marshall
A book written by local historian Charles E. Frohman, Rebels on Lake Erie, provides an account of the Confederate Officer's Prison, located on Johnson's Island in Sandusky Bay. Several photographs and drawings are included in this book.
Many individuals who lived in Sandusky, or had local family ties, participated in the Civil War. The Sandusky Library has primary and secondary sources on several of these people.
Dr. Robert R. McMeens served as a surgeon in both the Mexican War and the Civil War. He was inducted into the Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame in 2006. Dr. McMeens died during the Civil War, and he is buried in Oakland Cemetery.
General Henry A. Axline, a Civil War veteran who is also considered the “Father of the National Guard of Ohio,” is also buried in Oakland Cemetery.
John Beatty, grandson of the former Sandusky Mayor of the same name, wrote a book about his experiences as an officer during the Civil War. The book, The Citizen-Soldier; or, Memoirs of a Volunteer, was published in 1879 by Wilstach, Baldwin & Co. of Cincinnati. Though John Beatty did not grow up in Sandusky, he was born in Erie County, and is buried at Oakland Cemetery.
Also in the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center are several photographs of Civil War soldiers and veterans, historical documents, and regimental histories. Three large archival boxes hold the records of Company E, 7th Regiment, Ohio Volunteer Infantry. Included in these boxes are muster rolls, furlough papers, lists of clothing and equipment, and many more documents related to the unit.
Tintypes of Civil War soldiers were donated to the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center by Private Leonard Winkler, who served in Co. I of the Third Ohio Cavalry during the Civil War.
In 1863 several African Americans from Sandusky volunteered for service in Company I of the 55th Massachusetts Infantry, which was a sister regiment to the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, whose heroic service in the war was dramatized in the movie, Glory. Two of these soldiers from the 55th, Elijah Brown and Maurice Darnell are buried in Sandusky’s Oakland Cemetery.
Several reunions of Civil War veterans were held at Cedar Point. Former Second Lieutenant Isaac Skillman donated two ribbons from Annual Reunions of the Third Ohio Cavalry. Also available at the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center is a microfilmed copy of Isaac Skillman’s personal recollections from his Civil War service with the Ohio Third Cavalry.
Visit the Sandusky Library and Sandusky Library Archives Research Center if you have an interest in the Civil War. Ask for assistance at the Reference Services desk.