Monday, July 29, 2013

Most don't realize memorial's significance

In Connecticut, veterans, residents and a color guard of Civil War re-enactors turned out in celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Kensington Soldier's Monument, which is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places as the country's oldest, permanent Civil War monument. • Article

Friday, July 26, 2013

Battle of Brown's Mill: Where everything went horribly wrong for Union cavalry

Thomas E. Redwine shows movement of Union troops into Newnan
Not a whole lot went wrong for Union Gen. William T. Sherman during his successful 1864 campaign to take Atlanta, a huge win for the North and President Abraham Lincoln, who needed a victory to assure re-election.
While his unsuccessful assault of Kennesaw Mountain was costly, Sherman’s decision to send about 5,200 cavalry troopers to tear up railroad track south of Atlanta turned into an outright disaster.

Author David Evans
His aim was to disrupt vital supply and communication lines and avoid a protracted siege by forcing the South to abandon Atlanta.

“Sherman had no experience to speak of with cavalry. He never truly appreciated their abilities and their limitations,” argues historian David Evans.

In his book, “Sherman’s Horsemen,” Evan details the use of cavalry during the campaign and the ill-fated McCook-Stoneman Raid.

Two previous Union raids -- which came up against few Confederates -- proved successful. Sherman was emboldened.

List of Rebel casualties
“He decided to put all his eggs in one basket and decided to conduct one of the largest raids in the Civil War.”

As another large Federal column engaged elsewhere, Brig. Gen Edward M. McCook, with about 3,000 troopers and Maj. Gen. George Stoneman’s 2,200 men set out in separate columns. They agreed to rendezvous at Lovejoy Station to destroy track.

“They are riding into a hornet’s nest,” Evans tells the Picket.

The hornet stings ended up paralyzing McCook while his men tried to escape a horde of Rebel pursuers a few miles outside of Newnan, a hospital town.

The Confederates sprung their trap at Brown’s Mill in a well-timed ambush. After a council of war, McCook ceded effective command. He lost artillery pieces, horses and about 1,200 men forced to surrender during their pell-mell rush to cross the Chattahoochee River and reach the safety of Union lines.

Campaign map at Newnan depot
It was a bloody debacle, in which there was saber-to-saber fighting, a trail of bodies and the heroic actions of a Union trooper who received the Medal of Honor.

A portion of the battlefield will be formally dedicated Saturday as Brown’s Mill Battlefield Historic Civil War Site. The 105 acres includes two short trails, a meadow and a half dozen interpretive signs detailing the battle.

McCook had initial success after setting off July 27, 1864, tearing up Atlanta & West Point Railroad track at Palmetto and capturing Confederate supplies at Fayetteville. “There is some pretty good evidence that McCook got into some captured liquor and overimbibed,” says Evans.

Stoneman, who had moved south on the east side of the Ocmulgee River, was unable to ford and abandoned plans to meet McCook. He decided to move up plans to free Union prisoners at Andersonville. Stoneman and much of his command, however, were captured at Macon.

McCook and his men reached Lovejoy Station on July 29. They did little damage to the Macon & Western Railroad.

“There is no sign of Stoneman. This puts McCook in a quandary,” says Evans.

Brig. Gen. McCook
McCook makes what he calls a “strategic withdrawal” and is hounded by Confederate cavalry after he made the decision to head back to Union lines via Newnan.

Early the morning of July 30, after skirmishes at Line Creek and Shake Rag, troopers of the 8th Indiana ride into town, surprised to find dismounted Confederate cavalry at the railroad depot. McCook decides to avoid battle and continue his push for the river.

Confederate Lt. Gen. Joe Wheeler, urging his exhausted men, was soon on McCook’s heels.

“O, how joyfully we hailed them,” Confederate nurse Kate Cumming wrote in her diary. “They came galloping in by two different roads; the enemy in the meantime hearing of their approach, were retreating.”

Newnan children attempted to follow the Union troopers, but were told to go home.

Nurse Kate Cumming
An ambush at what is now the intersection of Old Corinth and Millard Farmer roads demoralizes the advance Indiana, Iowa and Kentucky regiments in the column, setting up the short, but ferocious battle.

“Wheeler see his lines wavering and he rides to the front, draw his sword, orders his bugler to sound charge and orders the men to ‘follow me,’” says Evans.

Sandra Parker, comprehensive planner for Coweta County, which owns the new historic site, said Wheeler and other commanders made an assault on the larger Union force, which was now straddling what came to be known as Ricketyback Road.

Fighting see-sawed across the road.

Wheeler “used (his men) very strategically in a huge horseshoe and moved in on them,” says Parker. 

McCook held a brief council of war, suggesting the force surrender. Other officers decided to fight and McCook basically gave up command. It was every man for himself then, with separate columns attempting to break out from the trap.

“They were outgeneraled and fled south,” says Parker.

There were moments of heroism among the jolted Union troopers.

Cpl. George W. Healey (Healy) of Company E, 5th Iowa Cavalry is to win a Medal of Honor for his actions at Brown’s Mill.

George Healey
According to the citation, “When nearly surrounded by the enemy, (he) captured a Confederate soldier, and with the aid of a comrade who joined him later, captured four other Confederate soldiers, disarmed the five prisoners and brought them all into the Union lines.”

Larry Conzett of Nashville says his great-great-uncle, David, also of the 5th Iowa, rode with Healey. David Conzett died shortly before Healey took the prisoners.

“This family folklore was George fought back with David’s empty pistol, capturing Confederates, feigning the gun was full,” says Conzett, who will attend Saturday’s dedication of the site.

David Conzett fell near a tree within 75 yards of the home of George W. Cook. The home was on high ground where McCook placed artillery and the council of war during a “last stand.”

One of three nieces staying at Cook’s home was killed during the fighting. Later, Cook wrote a letter demanding the return of horses taken by Union troopers during the battle.

David Conzett and two comrades were buried at the Cook property before being moved to a national cemetery in Marietta, north of Atlanta.

Planners and preservationists hope a small visitor center will someday be built on the high ground.

The 5th Iowa was among the 500 troopers that were captured on the battlefield while trying to cover the Union retreat.

An interpretive sign for battlefield (Coweta County)
The fighting at Brown's Mill cost McCook about 100 killed and wounded, while Wheeler's casualties probably numbered less than 50, according to Evans. Wheeler freed about 500 prisoners and captured supplies.

“By 5 p.m. it was completely over, with the nurses out there already,” says Carolyn Turner, president of the Friends of Brown’s Mill Battlefield Association.

Confederate nurse Fannie Beers wrote about the carnage she encountered.

"The dead lay around us on every side, singly and in groups and piles; men and horses, in some cases, apparently inextricably mingled. Some lay as if peacefully sleeping; others, with open eyes, seemed to glare at any who  bent above them. Two men lay as they had died, the 'Blue' and the 'Gray,'  clasped in fierce shot in the head, the throat of the other was partly torn away.”

The retreat of the remaining Union forces was chaotic, with another 700 captured before they could ford the Chattahoochee. Some men, including an officer naked except for his hat, managed to swim or take a few ferries to safety.

Route of the Union retreat at Brown's Mill
According to Evans, the McCook-Stoneman escapade and the loss at Brown’s Mill changed the way the Atlanta Campaign was fought.

Sherman could no longer depend on his now-crippled cavalry. A siege of the city ensued and infantry was used to move on two crucial railroads.

“It forced Sherman to change his strategy and while it did not change the ultimate outcome… these Confederate victories prolonged the campaign at a crucial moment of American history.”

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Howls of protest: Women mill workers were forced north from Georgia

New Manchester Manufacturing Co.’s mill about 18 miles west of Atlanta was fed by the roiling waters of Sweetwater Creek and bales of cotton brought in by wagon.

The mill, at five stories, was the tallest building in North Georgia. Natural light filled the brick structure, and a massive 25-ton waterwheel powered the machinery that produced cotton yarns and material.

So it was no wonder that the Confederate government in 1861 contracted with the mill’s owners to produce muslin and osnaburg, a fabric lighter than canvas, for its army.

The deal sealed the factory’s fate.

Subsequently viewed as a military target, the mill within three years was torched by Union troops who made Georgia howl during Gen. William T. Sherman’s Atlanta Campaign and subsequent March to the Sea.

Tuesday afternoon, I ventured to Sweetwater Creek State Park to enjoy its natural splendor and gaze at the ruins of the mill, which was built in 1849 and initially dubbed Sweetwater Factory.

The surrounding community – a store, post office, homes and a lumber mill – are long gone, making New Manchester a ghost town.

But if the ghosts are talking, they are likely the spirits of women who worked in the mill during the Civil War while their menfolk were at the front.

After the mill was torched by Union cavalry, nearly 100 New Manchester residents, mostly female workers and their children, were sent north by train, under protest, to spend the rest of the war. Many took an oath of allegiance to the United States.

They were called traitors or “operatives” for their efforts to supply the Confederate military.

The horror of the Civil War was not confined to the field of battle. It invaded cities, small towns and oft times the hearths and homes of innocent victims, leaving only destruction and despair in its wake,” writes author Mary Deborah Petite. “The little known story of the North Georgia mill workers is just one more heartbreaking example.”

Petite’s book, “The Women Will Howl,” tells of the forced relocation of workers at New Manchester and a much larger group of 500 people at mills in Roswell, a suburb just north of Atlanta.

One of those Roswell mill incidents involved a ruse featuring a French flag that I wrote about in a popular Picket article in October 2010.

On July 5, 1864, Brig. Gen. Kenner Garrard and his Union troopers were battling the home guard for a vital bridge at Roswell, but the Rebels set it afire. Garrard was surprised to see a most unexpected banner above the Ivy Woolen Mill at the river. It was a French national flag.

Garrard rode in to investigate and was met by mill workers claiming to be English or French citizens.

Theophile Roche, a journeyman weaver from Paris who claimed at least part ownership of the mill, had concocted the idea of flying the French flags to show the mill was not part of the Confederacy, therefore not subject to seizure or destruction.

Garrard walked into Ivy Woolen Mill on July 6 to discover bolts of cloth with the letters CSA woven in. He was shown records indicating the material would be used to make uniforms for Confederate troops.

Garrard ordered the mill burned and moved along the river to the Roswell Manufacturing Co., a larger complex that had nothing to do with the French flag incident but did make goods for the South. Federal forces set it afire, too. 

Meanwhile, back at Sweetwater Creek, troopers with the 1st and 11th Kentucky Cavalry occupied the town of New Manchester without firing a shot.

Brig. Gen. Garrard
A week later, on July 9, 1864, Northern troops burned the factory buildings and the company store to the ground.

Union troops rounded up 400 of the Ivy Woolen and Roswell mill workers (a contingent that included 87 men -- some soldiers, some deserters), and then added those who worked at the Sweetwater Creek mill, for a total of nearly 600 people. Five hundred were women and children.

From the Northern perspective, the workers were American citizens in open rebellion – a policy that outraged Southerners.

Sherman wrote to Garrard: “I repeat my orders that you arrest all people, male and female, connected with those factories, no matter what the clamor, and let them foot it, under guard, to Marietta, whence I will send them by cars to the North...The poor women will make a howl. Let them take along their children and clothing, providing they have the means of hauling, or you can spare them.”

The prisoners were marched to Marietta for shipment north. They were placed in the Georgia Military Institute while they awaited trains.

Georgia militia uniform
There would be no trials at which they could defend themselves.

The 600 were shipped out July 10 and 11, with stops in Chattanooga and Nashville. Many were sent to Ohio and Indiana after they arrived in Louisville, Ky., where they were initially imprisoned in a hospital. A few died of typhoid, measles and other diseases.

“First housed and fed in a Louisville refugee hospital, the women later took what menial jobs and living arrangements could be found. Those in Indiana struggled to survive, many settling near the river, where eventually mills provided employment,” the New Georgia Encyclopedia says. “Unless husbands had been transported with the women or had been imprisoned nearby, there was little probability of a return to Roswell, so the remaining women began to marry and bear children.”

Very few ever made it back to Georgia. Mills were reopened in Roswell, but not at New Manchester.

Of course, the captured white workers and residents of New Manchester were not alone in an absence of rights.

Slaves, after all, had made the bricks and cut the lumber for construction of the mills, and had performed much of the labor. A millrace (left), a channel into which water is funneled to the factory, was built by slaves at Sweetwater Creek.

The museum at Sweetwater Creek State Park includes exhibits about the mill and affected families, including Synthia Stewart, who was a young girl when the Yankees came to town. Her father served in the Confederate army.

Stewart, while in her 90s, described the privations the family suffered and the burning of the town.

One account is a story of hunger, with Lizzie being Synthia’s mother:

The next day there came a crowd of northern soldiers. Before they came through, Grandma said, “Well, Lizzie, let’s cook the children one more meal of victuals.” We had lots of chickens, but we had nothing else much though to go with them, so they cooked the chickens and fixed dinner. before we could get through, why, the yard was full of men, looked like. They just come on down, and we children walked to the door, and they said, “Well, we’re just in time.” They didn’t ask if they could or not, they just walked in and sat down at the table and ate up all the dinner we had cooked, so we didn’t have anything more left to cook another day.”

Monday, July 22, 2013

'Stepchild' cavalry clash in Georgia finally gets its due at site's grand opening Saturday

Cavalry insignia in bench made by Eagle Scout
Armed with revolvers and a photograph, Sgt. Josiah Conzett and two Army buddies left their Atlanta-area camp for a farm outside Newnan, Ga., where Conzett’s brother was believed to have been buried after he fell during the Battle of Brown’s Mill on July 30, 1864.

The three men planned to spend a peaceful night at a Newnan hotel before heading out to the battlefield. But an armed man taunted the Union soldiers and worked a crowd – sullen in wartime defeat -- into a ‘dangerous mood.” Conzett and his comrades barricaded themselves in their room overnight and were all too happy to get out of town the next morning.

Josiah Conzett
Conzett, of the 5th Iowa Cavalry, Co. E found the farm of G.W. Cook, a merchant and minister, according to historians and an account provided by a Conzett descendant. The horseman showed Cook a photo of his brother, David, and learned his older brother was one of three soldiers buried on the property. Cook, these several months after the cavalry clash, remembered that David Conzett, 26, had been stripped of his new uniform.

“Mr. Cook gave us a nice smooth board, on which I carved with knife and pencil his name, company & regiment, his age, time of death, his city and state,” Josiah Conzett wrote in his recollections. “I asked Mr. Cook to care for it, that I would see he was well paid for it. He promised to do so, and faithfully kept it up to the time the government took charge of it.”

The remains of Swiss-born David Conzett and about 30 other troopers, killed in a resounding defeat during the Atlanta Campaign, were moved a couple years later to Marietta National Cemetery just north of Atlanta.

One of a half dozen signs that will provide context (Courtesy of Coweta Co.)
The site of the Cook farm lies in Brown’s Mill Battlefield Historic Civil War Site, which will have its grand opening this Saturday (July 27), the culmination of 13 years of work by Coweta County and a rejuvenated, small group of preservationists and historians.

The opening is one year ahead of the 150th anniversary of the battle. A re-enactment is planned for October 2014, after the hot summer months, on the 105-acre site.

Mounted re-enactors will be on hand Saturday, along with food, music, a rifle salute and a scavenger hunt. A ribbon-cutting ceremony is set for 9:45 a.m. and activities continue until about 2 p.m. at the park near the intersection of Millard Farmer and Old Corinth roads.
Carolyn Turner (left) and Sandra Parker at site
“We’ve just got started,” said Carolyn Turner, president of the Friends of Brown’s Mill Battlefield Association. “We have something we can show people.”

Phase 1 of the new county park includes two trails, a meadow for re-enactments and other activities, an observation pavilion and seven interpretive signs, which feature QR codes by which visitors can use smartphones and other devices to download additional information of the battle.

Phase 2, which is not funded, is several years down the road, said Sandra Parker, comprehensive planner for Coweta Park. A master plan calls for a visitor’s center with exhibits not far from the Cook homestead.

Union cavalrymen were routed south of Atlanta

“What the county has out there now is a good start,” said David Evans, author of “Sherman’s Horsemen,” an account of Union Gen. William T. Sherman’s use of cavalry during the Atlanta Campaign. “From a tourism point of view, it is easy access to Interstate 85.” 

A 2004 master plan prepared for Coweta County said, “The Brown’s Mill Battlefield Historic Site will be the only Civil War park south of Atlanta as well as one of only two Civil War parks in the nation featuring a cavalry battle.”

A challenge, it said, would be attracting Civil War visitors south of Atlanta to a battle few members of the general public know much or anything about.

The Battle of Brown’s Mill on July 30, 1864, took place between Union cavalry under the command of Brig. Gen. Edward McCook, and pursuing Confederate cavalry units under the command of Gen. Joseph Wheeler.

Sherman had tasked McCook and Maj. Gen. George Stoneman with cutting vital railroads south of Atlanta so that he would not have to engage in a prolonged siege.

McCook was unable to meet up with Stoneman and his 2,400 troopers left Lovejoy and headed north back toward the Chattahoochee River. Wheeler’s smaller force pursued him and ambushed the exhausted Union forces.

They clashed near Brown’s Mill, three miles southwest of Newnan, a town known for its historic antebellum homes.

Confederate Gen. Joe Wheeler
The county’s parcel was the scene of much of the heaviest fighting.

McCook’s forces fled and, eventually, more than 1,000 were taken prisoner. Wheeler freed about 500 Confederate prisoners and also seized supplies.

The fighting at Brown's Mill cost McCook about 100 killed and wounded, while Wheeler's casualties probably numbered less than 50, according to Evans. 

The Union cavalry failed to attain its goal in the McCook-Stoneman raid, forcing Sherman to change tactics and besiege Atlanta and use infantry at Jonesboro, wrote Evans.

The property is near an auto salvage yard, which unwittingly benefited preservation efforts over the years.

“People fuss about it,” Turner, a retired longtime teacher, said of the business’s proximity to the park. “(But) we owe them a debt of gratitude. If they were not out there, many parts would have been developed by housing.”

Will park one day have reservoir for neighbor?

According to Parker, Coweta County has spent about $310,000 on the project, with assistance from state and federal sources totaling about $659,000. The Friends and other groups have raised nearly $8,000 for the $976,000 total cost for land acquisition, planning, interpretation and construction.

The Coweta County Water and Sewerage Authority at some point may build a reservoir right next to the county site. 

But CEO Jay Boren told the Picket that plans for the 300-acre reservoir have “been put on hold.”

The county made an 18-acre land swap with the authority. In exchange for land for a reservoir spillway, the authority provided vital high ground where Cook’s cabin and federal artillery pieces likely stood, Parker said.
“They found something like an old well, period, nails glass and crockery,” Parker said of an archaeological survey.

Preservationists and historians have not been thrilled with the possibility of portions of the battlefield lying under water, although some speculate whether water over land might be preferable to homes that would disturb the ground.

Turner at UDC monument
The fighting comprised up to 1,000 acres, most of it east and south of the county site. There’s even more if you count the federal advance and retreat, Charlie Crawford, head of the Georgia Battlefields Association, two years ago told the Picket. The area is largely rural, with homes, a few businesses and woodlands.

Crawford, whose group supports the Brown’s Mill Friends, said that at least part of the entire battle area would be under water. Boren said "no portion of the Browns Mill Battlefield property will be affected by the water"  if a reservoir were built.

Water demand currently is flat in Coweta County and its one reservoir is adequate and can be expanded, said Boren.

At Brown’s Mill, the authority has acquired much of the needed spring-fed land, which sits in a natural bowl, but has been thus far unable to negotiate the purchase of two smaller tracts, according to Boren.

“We currently have more water than we can even sell,” said Boren. “We haven’t seen the growth.”

The Atlanta Regional Commission in 2010 released a new population estimate saying Coweta County’s population would double to 250,000 by 2040, but local officials say the economic slowdown has brought slower growth and water needs.

“It could be something we possibly not even need to look at (for) 20 to 30 years,” said Boren.

Still, Boren says, the authority board always has the topic on the table, given projected growth and revenue possibilities.

A master plan rendering shows a reservoir and spillway forming a peninsula around much of the battlefield site.

“You will have to convince people this was not an amphibious assault by Joe Wheeler’s cavalry,” Evans said of the scenario if the reservoir is built.

“Three Ladies” made their case, raised awareness

Turner told the Picket there are no projections for daily visitors at the historic site, although she has received calls.

And while officials expect walkers and joggers (but no dogs) to use the venue, the county will discourage picnics and parties. While there are no entrenchments, the site, full of sloped ravines, was the scene of ferocious, if brief, combat.

“This needs to be a commemorative park,” said Parker. “This is hallowed ground.”

Evans told the Picket that "Brown's Mill is the stepchild of Civil War" battlefields, because it did not make a congressional list of important battles, and is finally getting its due.

The Coweta County Convention & Visitors Bureau regularly touts Newnan’s charm and history and welcome packets include a brochure about Coweta’s ties to the Civil War. The county’s historical society also promotes tourism and visitors can learn about Confederate graves at Oak Hill Cemetery; Buena Vista, a home used by Wheeler; and the railroad depot where McCook’s raiders entered Newnan.

Turner speaks of efforts of the “Three Ladies” – she, Parker and retired teacher Pat Tidwell – to help make the battlefield site a reality, by raising awareness and funds.

They would make appearances before local politicians to make their case.

“We had taught some of them,” said Turner.

• Upcoming in Picket: Detailed account of battle

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Civil War music, stories coming to Smokies

A Smoky Mountains program will explore how the Civil War affected the southern Appalachians. On Saturday, Sparky and Rhonda Rucker will sing old-time music that was popular during the war and tell stories about how the conflict affected the people living in the mountains. • Details

Friday, July 12, 2013

William H. Lytle: Remembering gallant poet-warrior who fell at Chickamauga

Brig. Gen. William Haines Lytle, son of pioneers, man of letters, warrior of old, spoke these gallant words as a horde of Confederates surrounded his brigade on the bloody battlefield at Chickamauga:

"If I must die, I will die as a gentleman. All right, men, we can die but once. This is the time and place. Let us charge."

Lytle, on horseback, led a determined but doomed counterattack on Sept. 20, 1863. He was shot in the spine and subsequently in the head. The Cincinnati, Ohio, hero and popular poet-warrior handed his sword to a soldier before dying of his wounds.

His Union comrades were forced from the field, leaving Lytle’s remains lying among the Georgia pines.

And then something remarkable happened.

Confederate troops, some of whom he knew from service in the Mexican-American War, posted an honor guard around Lytle’s remains before they were returned to Federals. His poems were reportedly read around campfires that evening.

Lytle had been twice wounded in previous Civil War battles and was a prisoner of war for a brief time. Admiring officers from the 10th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, with whom Lytle served at the beginning of the conflict, only weeks before the Battle of Chickamauga had presented him a gold meal, decorated with an emerald and a star of diamonds.

Lytle's coat (Cincinnati Museum Center)
It wasn’t just his bravery that accorded such an honor at Chickamauga.

Lytle, 36, was known across North and South for his poetry, much of which was composed before the war. The general continued to write during the war.

Lytle’s most famous composition, “Antony and Cleopatra,” was published a few years before Confederate guns opened up on Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor.

I am dying, Egypt, dying;
Hark!  the insulting foeman's cry;
They are coming; quick, my falchion !
Let me front them ere I die.
Ah, no more amid the battle
Shall my heart exulting swell;
Isis and Osiris guard thee,
Cleopatra, Rome, farewell!

Lytle’s messages of mortality and man were popular during the Victorian era.

The area on the Chickamauga battlefield where the general led his brigade is known appropriately as Lytle Hill.

The setting is serene, says Patrice Glass, executive director of Friends of the Park, which is financially helping the National Park Service restore Lytle’s monument at Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park.

Courtesy of SUVCW, Lytle Camp
The monument, a pyramid of artillery shells, is down to one level after years of vandalism and the use of some of the cannonballs to repair other memorials.

This Sept. 20, the fully restored monument will be dedicated at a solemn ceremony marking the 150th anniversary of the momentous battle in northern Georgia, which ended in a Southern victory.

Among those attending will be members of the General William H. Lytle Camp #10 of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War (SUVCV), which also raised money for the project.

That contingent may be bringing descendants of the Lytle family, which was among the founding fathers of Cincinnati. Lytle was a bachelor.

Glass and others say the treatment accorded to Lytle’s body is an early example of North and South coming together.

“That’s a great story and it goes to the heart of what happened here after the battle – reunification,” she recently told the Civil War Picket.

Lytle tactic books, medal (Cincinnati Museum Center)
The Cincinnati Museum Center, beginning last weekend and continuing through Oct. 27, has an exhibit of items from its collection marking the city’s involvement in the Civil War during 1863.

Among the Lytle items are his frock coat, sword, gold medal, liquor cabinet and tall boots.

Lytle was a lawyer and politician before the Civil War. His grandfather founded Williamsburg, Ohio, and his father was a well-known orator and Ohio congressman.

“Called Will by friends and family, Lytle was described as slight in build, but well developed with gray eyes and a resolute character,” according to a 2008 article in the Murfreesboro (Tenn,) Post.

The article said the chivalrous Lytle received is gift of prose from his mother and his eloquence from his father. Lytle provided vivid details of his wartime service in Mexico and other aspects of his life and studies.

From “When the Long Shadows”:

Ah! whereso'er the closing scene may find me,
'Mid friends or foemen or in deserts lone,
May there be some of those I leave behind me
To shed a tear for me when I am gone. 

Lytle liquor cabinet, boots (Cincinnati Museum Center)
Lytle was wounded in September 1861 at Carnifex Ferry and in October 1862 at Perryville, where he was taken prisoner before an exchange shortly afterward. The Ohioan was given brigade command in November 1862.

The poet-warrior’s funeral in Cincinnati weeks after the Battle of Chickamauga  was a major event, said Kerry Langdon, past commander of the Lytle Camp of the SUVCV.

“His family is a favorite family in the history of Cincinnati, Ohio,” said Langdon. “He was a learned man, a very articulate poet.”

Lytle Park is among several Cincinnati venues named for the general.

Langdon said the Sept. 20 ceremony will include a tribute to Lytle’s poetry.

From “Lines to My Sisters”:

“In vain for me the applause of men,
The Laurel won by sword or pen,
But for the hope, so dear and sweet,
To lay my trophies at your feet.”