After the Civil War, Major Frederick Stephens Wallace wrote of his experiences during the four years he served in the Union Army as commander of the 61st Ohio Volunteer Infantry. The following paragraph has been chosen from his writings because of how vividly he describes the great ordeals his regiment endured while marching between engagements with the enemy.

“As the marches of a regiment, as well as its battles, form part of its history, it may not be out of place to describe briefly that from Sperryville to Bull Run, as a type of many that followed, only that some were through the snow and others through the rain and mud, all accompanied by hardships that seem almost unbearable. On this campaign the movements of the commissary trains were erratic from the start. Some fell prey to the enemy, while those that escaped did not show themselves for days at a time. The result was hunger for the soldier. Fortunately, there were cornfields and bees, and many a meal was made from green corn with honey dessert. It was not uncommon sight to see a soldier "streaking it" across a field with a beehive on his shoulder, the open end to the rear. Then there was the plague of the red dust, ground to an impalpable powder by the feet and wheels of a never resting army, saturating the clothing and penetrating to the skin of the perspiring soldier, breathed into his lungs in suffocating quantity, caking in his mouth and creating a thirst not quenchable by the tepid water of the canteen. Who of you does not recall the struggle with the crowd at the infrequent well, to be rewarded after a long wait by a swallow of muddy dregs, grateful only by reason of its coolness? As to the baggage trains, they were not visible more than once, if at all, during the entire campaign, and the insect horror, due to inability to procure change of clothing, is only to be hinted at. Then there was the bivouacking in the rain; the worn out shoes; the dysentery; the weakness of poorly nourished men; the sweltering heat of the dog days. Yet, at the end of such a march, the men were ready and anxious to meet the foe. They fought a good fight, and if not victorious it was not the fault of the men in the ranks.”

The Ohio 61st O.V.I. was present at battles of Second Bull Run, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, and Gettysburg as well as Missionary Ridge, the Chattanooga-Atlanta Campaign, and Sherman’s March to the Sea. The accumulative distance the regiment marched from battle to battle totals well over 3,000 miles. These foot soldiers marched in the states of West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, North and South Carolina and the District of Columbia. Many of the men died on the battlefield or in hospitals from their wounds. Many more died of disease, while some never survived the Southern prison camps. Of the 37 commissioned officers and 877 enlisted men in the 61st when it was first formed at Camp Chase in Columbus, Ohio, only 60 officers and men remained to answer to the last roll call.

Three Civil War veterans of the 61st O.V.I. who joined when the regiment was formed, who marched as privates for three long years, and who answered the last roll call are now in the Riverside Cemetery in Poland, Ohio. Their names are:
George Ackerman (1841-1913)
Lemuel E. Little (1843-1920)
Edward K. Fankell (1815-1893)

(See the Civil War Heritage Series, Vol. XII, “From Freeman’s Ford to Bentonville” printed by the Beidel Printing House, 63 Burd Street, Shippensburg, PA, 17257)