Thursday, September 05, 2019
Honorable Discharge of a Squirrel Hunter
In September of 1862, General Lewis Wallace (of Ben-Hur fame) was ordered to prepare to defend Covington, Kentucky and Cincinnati, Ohio, following the capture of Lexington, Kentucky by Confederate forces. Martial law was declared in Cincinnati, and local civilians were called in to help defend the city against an attack. Governor David Tod ordered the Adjutant-General of Ohio to send any available troops. Several counties around the state offered to send civilians to Cincinnati. Only men who had their own weapons were to respond, and the railroad was to provide transportation to the volunteers at no cost to the men. Eventually these men became known as “Squirrel Hunters.”
One of the men who answered the call to go to Cincinnati was John McCardle, from Erie County. In 1863, he received an honorable discharge by Governor Tod. The document was also signed by Charles W. Hill, the Adjutant-General of Ohio, and Malcolm McDowell, Major and acting Aide de Camp. In 1908 Ohio legislators passed a resolution to pay each surviving Squirrel Hunter a sum of thirteen dollars, as pay for serving as an Ohio militia man. You can read more about Ohio’s “Squirrel Hunters” in an online newsletter from the Oberlin Heritage Center.