The American Civil War
The first documented mention of the war was on February 9, 1860. On that date, J.W. Dauphin, a local photographer, placed an advertisement in the Ironton newspaper stating, “Get Your Pictures made before the Dissolution of the Union.”
On January 1, 1861, the Union flag pole was raised in front of the Ironton House with a thirty-three gun salute.
Four Irontonians had the special honor of attending the Inaugeration of President Abraham Lincoln on March 4, 1861.
On April 14, 1861, President Lincoln called for troops. Three companies were formed in Lawrence County. Each company consisted of eighty men.
Less than four months later on August 2, 1861, the first Irontonian to give his life in the Civil War died. His name was Richard Lambert. Lambert was killed at the Battle of Scarey in Western Virginia. He left behind a wife and a child.
By September 4, 1861, 1,210 men from Lawrence County joined the Union Army. A cannon called Dr. Trimble was fired everytime residents heard of a Union victory. Wives, widows, parents and children of soldiers united to help the soldiers by creating a relief committee. One job performed by the relief committee was to take food to soldiers in a hospital in Ashland, Kentucky.
In 1862, Dr. Jonathan Morris returned to Lawrence County. Morris was captured at Guyandotte, West Virginia when Ironton troops went to stop the rebels from burning the city. He was held prisoner for four months in a rebel prison at Richmond, Virginia. When he returned home, he gave lectures about his experiences.
On July 12, 1863, the residents of Lawrence County received warning Morgan’s Rebel Raiders were coming to the area. Businesses closed. Everyone rushed home to safety. For ten days, men guarded the town twenty-four hours a day.
In 1864, Colonel William H. Powell returned home. Like Morris, Powell became a prisoner of the rebels. Unfortunately, Powell was sent to Libby Prison for his six months. Libby Prison was well known for the harsh treatment Union soldiers received while in prison.
Hecla Furnace was very active in the war effort. The furnace was responsible for producing the iron for the “Swamp Angel.” The Swamp Angel was a 16,700 pound Parrot Rifle made at New York State’s West Point Foundry. The cannon had an 8 inch diameter bore, 11 foot bore depth, and a 17 pound powder charge. It was capable of firing a 200 pound projectile over 7,000 yards.
In 1865, the Ladies Aid sold ninety-four cakes to raise money for relief. Each cake was sold for $1.00. Eventually, the Ladies Aid raised $435.00.
On March 25, 1865, the entire town of Ironton swarmed to the river banks to witness a momentous occasion. Sherman’s army was aboard Mississippi transfer boats when they floated up the Ohio River.
Lee’s surrender was welcome news. Cannons were fired to celebrate. Church bells rang for the occasion. Ironton sent 507 men to fight in the Union Army. Lawrence County sent 2,747, 12% of the total population of the county.
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Narrow Escapes – Series of newspaper stories about Civil War Veterans
Lists of Civil War Veterans in Lawrence County, OH – taken from newspaper, research, courthouse and other sources
Index of Military Discharge Records – From Lawrence County’s Recorder’s Office. Submitted by Don Clark.