Pvt Benjamin R. Moss, Co G

    Source: Roger H. Moss collected genealogical, Civil War, and pension records from the National Archives and
    other sources and shared them with his brother, historian Walter G. Moss, who wrote the following essay on their
    great grandfather. It is based not only Benjamin Moss’s records but other sources, especially Jeffrey A. Hill’s The
    26th Ohio Veteran Volunteer Infantry: The Groundhog Regiment.

    Born in Birmingham, England, in September 1843, Benjamin Moss came to the United States with his family
    (mother, father, and three brothers) when he was four. He enlisted for a three-year stint in the 26th Ohio
    Regiment beginning on July 27, 1861 at Camp Chase, on the outskirts of Columbus, Ohio. Like many others in
    Co. G, he listed his residence as being Youngstown, Ohio, and like most other veterans in the regiment he
    reenlisted in January 1864. At that time, his civilian occupation is listed as a riverman, his eyes as grey, his hair
    auburn, and his height 5’11”. He continued to serve until he was mustered out at Victoria, Texas on 21 October,

    Especially striking about Benjamin’s service were his many battles with diseases and other illness. Diseases were
    an important, but often overlooked, part of the Civil War saga because they killed or at least temporarily removed
    from their units far more men than did battlefield deaths and wounds.

    Exactly what motivated Benjamin to enlist is unknown. Most young men did not do so because they wanted to help
    end Southern slavery. Not even President Lincoln went to war for such a goal—he wished to prevent its spread to
    new territories, but did not go to war to abolish it in the South. Rather, in Ohio and throughout the North people by
    mid-1861 shared the president’s belief that “the Union” had to be retained. And the example of other young men
    and opportunities for adventure may also have appealed to the seventeen-year-old Benjamin.

    After his initial training, in November and December 1861 he joined others from the 26th Ohio already stationed in
    the area of Fayetteville, Virginia. This western portion of Virginia, today’s West Virginia, was already in the
    process of splitting itself off from Virginia to form a separate state, and Union troops helped make this a reality.
    Besides the need to keep as much of the border population from joining the Confederacy as possible, the western
    portion of Virginia was important for strategic reasons, including safeguarding the main direct rail line (the B & 0)
    from D.C. to the Midwest.

    By the time Benjamin arrived in the Sewell Mountain area, most of the fighting between Union and Confederate
    forces had ended. Earlier that fall, hundreds of soldiers in the region on both sides had been sent to hospitals as
    a result of diseases contracted in unsanitary camp conditions. In October, all six soldiers of the 26th who died did
    so of disease. During Benjamin’s few months in the area, the main threat to Union forces besides disease came
    from rebel guerrilla forces, for this area had many Confederate sympathizers.

    In January and part of February 1862, Benjamin was hospitalized with malarial fever at the Fayette County
    Hospital, northwest of Sewell Mountain. Such fever was throughout the Civil War one of the two most common
    diseases—the other was listed as “diarrhea and dysentery.”

    After leaving the hospital in West Virginia, Benjamin rejoined his unit on February 28 at Camp Robinson, KY,
    several miles north of Bowling Green—unlike neighboring Tennessee, which joined the Confederacy, Kentucky
    never seceded, but sentiments in the state were divided between North and South. His regiment, the 26th Ohio,
    had left the breaking-away western Virginia in January by steamship in order to join other elements of the 15th
    Brigade, 4th Division of the Army of the Ohio on the outskirts of Louisville. Other regiments in the brigade
    included troops from Indiana, Michigan, and Kentucky, as well as from Ohio.

    In February, his brigade had marched southward from the Louisville area to Camp Robinson. In early March,
    Benjamin and his fellow soldiers in the 26th left their camp and began marching toward Nashville, where they
    arrived on March 12 to occupy it. While in the Nashville area, they were informed that their brigade had been
    transferred to the 6th Division of General Buell’s Army of the Ohio.

    At Camp Andrew Jackson, about five miles beyond Nashville, Benjamin’s regiment drilled and received further
    military instruction. They did not leave the camp until March 29, when they marched south toward Corinth,
    Mississippi, which contained the junction of two important railways.

    But before the 26th Ohio reached Corinth, they were diverted to an area in Tennessee just north of Corinth.
    There the bloodiest battle yet of the Civil War occurred, the Battle of Shiloh (April 6-7), fought near Pittsburg
    Landing on the Tennessee River. Over 10,000 casualties on each side was the result. But the 26th arrived only
    on the morning of April 8, after the battle had ended.

    Benjamin, however, was soon too sick to fight anyway. For several days he was in critical condition, suffering from
    diarrhea and fever. At the Tennessee River he was placed aboard the hospital ship Imperial, one of several the
    Quartermaster Department sent to evacuate sick and wounded Union troops.

    Yet, by early May he was well enough to participate as part of General Henry Halleck’s large army group in
    advancing on Corinth. Through rainy weather and swampy ground, it took the cautious Halleck a month to travel
    the 22 miles to Corinth. There was little good water along the way, and dysentery and typhoid were common. In
    mid-May, before Corinth was taken, Benjamin was one of the men stricken with chronic dysentery and fever. He
    was sent to a hospital in Hamburg, Tennessee only about 5 miles south of Shiloh. Many of the sick were cared for
    in conical (Sibley) tents that could accommodate a dozen soldiers or more. According to another soldier at the
    time, the “hospital” was vermin infested.

    Benjamin remained in Hamburg until he was transported to Benton Barracks Hospital, which was about five miles
    north of St. Louis. He apparently arrived there in late July after a three-day boat trip.

    Benton Barracks was a huge encampment that could accommodate as many as 30,000 soldiers and also
    contained training facilities, a mile of barracks, warehouses, stables, and parade grounds. He would convalesce
    there for several months. And in July he received extra pay for nursing duties. This was not unusual in the early
    stages of the war because nursing as a profession was still in its infancy and most nursing duties were performed
    by convalescing soldiers healthy enough to help, and to a lesser extent by women in religious orders. There was
    also volunteer help, like that of the poet Walt Whitman, who served as a volunteer in Washington, D.C. hospitals
    and wrote about his observations with a great compassion and realism.

    In the months from May to September that Benjamin spent hospitalized, his regiment, along with other units from
    the Army of the Ohio, had been marching through various parts of Mississippi, Alabama, and especially
    Tennessee and Kentucky dealing with Confederate threats. On October 8, six days after he rejoined his unit, it
    was kept in reserve at the Battle of Perryville. But many others in the Army of the Ohio were casualties in this
    largest Kentucky battle of the Civil War.

    Following the clash, Confederate forces retreated southward with Union forces in pursuit, which led to numerous
    skirmishes. The rest of October was spent marching through Kentucky toward Nashville. But General Don Carlos
    Buell failed to pursue the retreating Confederates aggressively enough and in late October was replaced as head
    of the Army of the Ohio by Gen. William Rosecrans, who also became commander of the Department of the
    Cumberland and subsequently combined both forces under a new name, the Army of the Cumberland.

    On the last day of October, with his regiment camped near Glasgow (KY), about 35 miles east of Bowling Green,
    Benjamin, sick with fever, was sent to a Cincinnati hospital. About this time, one of the other soldiers in his
    regiment commented on the widespread sickness in the unit, attributing it to too much exposure and long-hours of
    strenuous marching.

    For the next four months Benjamin remained hospitalized in Cincinnati, then one of the ten largest cities in the
    United States. The hospital where he was treated was then known as St. John’s Hospital, and it was run by the
    Catholic Sisters of Charity. From 1855 to 1865, it treated more than 6,000 patients, many of them soldiers
    brought up the Ohio River on boats from Southern battlefields. At the end of the war, the hospital moved to a new
    building and renamed itself Good Samaritan Hospital.

    While Benjamin was hospitalized in Cincinnati, his regiment and the rest of the Army of the Cumberland fought at
    Murfreesboro, Tennessee in the Battle of Stones River (Dec. 31, 1862 to Jan. 2, 1863). The losses for each side
    were heavy. From Benjamin’s regiment alone there were about a hundred dead and wounded. The battle ended
    with the retreat of Confederate forces. The Army of the Cumberland then remained at Murfreesboro for the next
    six months, reequipping, reorganizing, building a massive fortress (Fortress Rosecrans), drilling, and waiting for
    better weather.

    When Benjamin returned to active duty on March 7, 1863, his regiment was thus still at Murfreesboro. The day
    before Benjamin’s return Captain Samuel Rook, who had organized and led Benjamin’s company from its
    inception, resigned his position due to ill health and was replaced by another officer, William Baldwin. In the spring
    of 1863 the soldiers of the 26th Ohio received new pup tents, in which a maximum of two soldiers could sleep.
    Using them instead of the larger Sibley tents may have cut down upon the spread of communicable diseases.

    In early May rumors and finally the bitter truth that General Robert E. Lee’s forces had defeated Union troops at
    Chancellorsville circulated among the regiment. But later that month the soldiers were encouraged by news of
    General Grant’s siege of Vicksburg on the Mississippi River, hoping the city would soon fall to him (as it eventually
    did on July 4) Meanwhile, Gen. Rosecrans continued amassing whatever supplies he could for a summer
    campaign. Among his shortages were men, many having been lost to battle, disease, and desertion. Some of the
    troops expressed the hope that the conscription law passed by Congress in March would help replenish their
    ranks. Others vented their contempt for northern Copperheads, who advocated an immediate end to the war by
    arranging a peace settlement with the Confederacy.  

    On June 2, by order of his brigade commander, Colonel Edward P. Fyffe (who eight days later relinquished
    command of the brigade due to ill health), Benjamin was transferred for several months to his 1st Brigade
    headquarters to serve as a provost guard. Why Fyffe chose to send Benjamin to serve in this military-police
    capacity is not clear, but such guards formed a security unit at the headquarters of various levels, guarded
    prisoners, and attempted to prevent alcoholic violations, plundering, and desertion. Despite the unpleasantness
    of some of these duties, most guards seemed to enjoy their time as provost guards, partly because they generally
    received better lodgings, provisions, and other perks. (Steven J. Ramold’s Baring the Iron Hand: Discipline in the
    Union Army offers an excellent treatment of military discipline, including treatment of provost guards, courts-
    martial, and punishments.)

    On June 23, Benjamin’s brigade and the remainder of General Rosecrans’ Army of the Cumberland finally began
    to move toward Chattanooga by launching the Tullahoma Campaign. Within a few weeks, it was successful in
    ousting Southern troops from Tullahoma, a small town along the Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad. After later
    crossing the Cumberland Mountains, in early September, Rosecrans’ army occupied Chattanooga, from which the
    Confederate Army of Tennessee had retreated rather than fight against unfavorable odds. It was another
    important gain for Union forces, this time over a Confederate army second in size only to that of General Lee’s
    Army of Northern Virginia.

    But before the month was over, the Army of the Cumberland was threatened with disaster at the Battle of
    Chickamauga (Sept. 18-20), by which time Benjamin had apparently returned to the 26th Ohio from his detail with
    his brigade’s provost guards. The battle was chaotic and bloody. Regiments collapsed, provost guards stopped
    fleeing soldiers, and ad-hoc groups combined to form new units. By late on September 20th, Union forces were
    disorderly retreating back to Chattanooga, fortunate that the Confederate victory was not more devastating than it

    Estimated casualties, including killed, wounded, captured, and missing, numbered over 33,000, with the South
    loosing slightly more than the north. According to General Wood, commander of the 1st Division, 21st Army
    Corps, of which, Benjamin was a part, the division’s 1st brigade suffered 624 casualties out of 1321 men, most of
    them wounded. For Benjamin’s 26th Ohio regiment, which was one of four in the brigade, about fifty-six per cent
    of the men were casualties, including many men from the Youngstown area who had served with Benjamin in
    Company G.

    Despite the Union losses and now being besieged in Chattanooga, at Chickamauga the South, in the opinion of
    historian Bruce Catton, “had made its final bid for victory. . . . It could not again make such an effort.” This was
    partly due to General Ulysses S. Grant’s assumption of command over western Union forces, now bolstered by
    shifting some troops from the Army of the Potomac and most of the Army of the Tennessee under General William
    Tecumseh Sherman to Chattanooga. Grant also replaced General Rosecrans as head of the Army of the
    Cumberland and put in his place General George Thomas, who had distinguished himself at Chickamauga. The
    troops under Thomas were also reorganized, and the 26th Ohio became part of the 2d Brigade, 2d Division of the
    4th Army Corps.

    The decisive Battles for Chattanooga occurred on November 23-25, especially on the 25th at Missionary Ridge,
    located east of the city. And Benjamin and the 26th Ohio were at the center of it on an advancing and long-
    extended line of the Army of the Cumberland. At the battle, Northern troops outnumbered Southern ones by about
    a 3 to 2 margin. What was most striking about the seizing of Missionary Ridge from Confederate forces that
    afternoon was that the officers and men of the Army of the Cumberland exercised great initiative in advancing to
    the top of the steep ridge across trenches and amidst heavy artillery and rifle fire from above. The initiative
    resulted from confusion and miscommunication about Grant’s orders and the enthusiasm and determination of the
    Union troops to keep advancing until they took over the top of the ridge.

    Union casualties were much less than those at Chickamauga. The South had fewer killed or wounded than did the
    North, but more captured or otherwise missing. Benjamin’s regiment distinguished itself, including its commander,
    Lieutenant-Colonel William Young. But it lost only a few men to battlefield deaths and had another 30-40
    wounded, a few of whom subsequently died of their wounds. A lieutenant in Benjamin’s company reported no
    dead, but several wounded including Captain William Baldwin, who received a slight wound to the head. In a post-
    war pension examination, Benjamin reported that a scar on his temple was the result of a fall at the battle of
    Missionary Ridge.

    During February 1864, he and most of the men of the 26th Ohio were on furlough, which had been an
    inducement for them to reenlist. In early March, they reported back to Camp Chase in Columbus, where they had
    begun their first training almost three years earlier. From there they took a train to Cincinnati. Along the way,
    according to one lieutenant, many of them were drinking and fighting. From Cincinnati, they took a steamboat to
    Louisville, and from there trains to Nashville and beyond to southern Tennessee.

    By late March, the returning men were encamped on the south side of Charleston, TN, about 40 miles northeast
    of Chattanooga, and 89 new recruits had joined the regiment, bringing its total to 274 men. Besides daily drills
    and picket duty, the regiment was assigned various fatigue duties, including cutting down trees, chopping
    firewood, and unloading trains. During that same month, General Grant took command of all the Union armies.
    Taking his place as commander of Western armies was the Ohio-born General William Sherman, who had led his
    Army of the Tennessee alongside the Army of the Cumberland at Missionary Ridge. During April, Sherman
    prepared to move southward to capture Atlanta. In and around Chattanooga he gathered supplies and a grand
    army, with the Army of the Cumberland at over 60,000 men the largest (62 percent of his entire force).

    For the 26th Ohio, four more soldiers died in April, each from diseases which included pneumonia and chronic
    diarrhea. Although the regiment now had a new commander, 54-year-old Lt. Col. William H. Squires, and there
    were some other changes above the 26th Ohio, it continued to be part of the same brigade, division, and corps
    as before the men’s recent furloughs.

    On April 25, the 26th Ohio moved closer to Chattanooga, and on May 3, the regiment (by now up to 314 enlisted
    men), along with the rest of their division, began their long march toward Atlanta.
    Benjamin, however was not with them. Along with other sick soldiers he had been sent to Chattanooga. Due to
    mixed later reports from the Record and Pension Office and the War Department Surgeon General's Office, it is
    unclear exactly when, where, and why he remained hospitalized as long as he did. According to one government
    document, the initial cause for his hospitalization was “arthritis,” which was a frequent diagnosis following the Civil
    War and often resulted from earlier diseases such as dysentery.

    A second government document indicates that he entered a Chattanooga hospital on May 8 with a back sprain
    and was transferred on June 17 to General Hospital No. 2 in Chattanooga—where he apparently remained for at
    least the rest of the month. This same document indicates that he entered Cumberland Hospital in Nashville on
    July 7 with a gunshot wound to his left hand and was returned to duty July 26. How he received the gunshot,
    whether in battle or not, is not clear.

    Meanwhile, his regiment continued marching south with the rest of General Sherman’s forces, sometimes, such as
    at Kenesaw Mountain, facing stiff resistance. It is possible that Benjamin rejoined his regiment somewhere near
    Marietta, GA, between Kenesaw and Atlanta, because his regiment did suffer some casualties in that area on July
    4 (specifically at Smyrna Station, a little south of Marietta). If injured, Benjamin could have been transported back
    by train to Chattanooga and then on to Nashville, but it is also possible that the gunshot wound happened
    somewhere off the battlefield.    

    After he returned to active duty on July 26 and throughout August, his regiment and Confederate forces
    maneuvered and fired upon each other from entrenched positions in and around Atlanta. But Union troops
    gradually improved their position around the city, cutting off railway lines to it. On September 1 the besieged
    Confederate forces withdrew from the city, and a portion of Sherman’s grand army occupied it the next day. The
    four-month long campaign to take Atlanta had cost the Army of the Cumberland almost 23,000 casualties, and
    Benjamin’s regiment had suffered 117 of them. But it was a great victory, reenergizing war-weary Northern resolve.

    Benjamin’s regiment remained encamped for some days about twenty miles south of Atlanta, but on September 8,
    one of the lieutenants in his regiment noted that it camped only about a mile east of town and almost half of their
    brigade got drunk and celebrated. Not until September 25 did they depart the devastated city by train, as part of
    two divisions which General Sherman sent northward to Chattanooga.  

    During the next month Benjamin’s regiment performed different tasks including guarding supply trains running
    from Bridgeport, AL, through Chattanooga, to Dalton, GA. Sometimes they travelled on the trains and sometimes
    marched one way or another to deal with Confederate threats along the route or in the three-state vicinity.

    On October 28, the 26th Ohio was heading back north in Alabama toward Bridgeport and its men were weary from
    marching up and down mountainous terrain. For some unknown reason, Benjamin got into a fight with Co. B’s 1st
    Lieutenant Erastus Guy, who had him arrested, placed under guard, and, when the march resumed, tied to a

    In the three plus years that he had been in the army, this was the first clear-cut trouble that shows up on Benjamin’
    s record. Earlier in mid-1863, when serving for a few months in the provost guards, he had been on the enforcing
    side of military justice. Now, for the next few months, he would be on the receiving end under constant guard.

    On January 18, 1865 a court-martial trial rendered its verdict: On Charge 1, disobedience of orders, found guilty;
    on Charge 2, striking an officer, found not guilty.  Exactly how the military court arrived at these conclusions is
    unclear, but the punishment was not too severe—forfeit of one month’s pay and ten-days fatigue duty under
    guard. Considering that he was charged with violating Article 9 of the Articles of War—“Any officer or soldier who
    shall strike his superior officer, or draw or lift up any weapon, or offer any violence against him, being in the
    execution of his office, on any pretense whatsoever, or shall disobey any lawful command of his superior officer,
    shall suffer death, or such other punishment as shall, according to the nature of his offense, be inflicted upon him
    by the sentence of a court-martial”—he was probably greatly relieved to be getting off so easily. Perhaps Lt. Guy’
    s not being in Company G, and thus not Benjamin’s direct superior officer, helped lessen the sentence. Perhaps
    also the fact that Benjamin had so often been sick, but always returned to duty encouraged leniency. In that
    winter of 1864-65, according to the later testament of his battery commander, Captain Baldwin, “Moss was in
    badly broken down condition [from exactly what is unclear] and would have been given a discharge because of
    physical disability incurred in the line of duty, if he had asked for it.”

    The trial was held in Huntsville, Alabama, where Benjamin’s regiment was located at the time. After his arrest in
    late October, it had continued to move back and forth between northern Alabama and Tennessee to meet threats
    from Confederate forces. In November and December it fought against Confederate forces in Tennessee,
    including battles at Spring Hill and Franklin (both south of Nashville) and, on December 15-16, at Nashville itself.
    At this last battle the total casualties numbered almost seven thousand, with Confederate losses being more than
    twice those of Federal forces.

    On December 28, near Lexington, AL, Benjamin’s regiment received news that General Sherman had reached the
    Atlantic Ocean by capturing Savannah. On December 30, the 26th Ohio and the remainder of the 4th Corps
    received orders to encamp for the winter in the Huntsville area. There they set about building huts for winter
    quarters, On February 14, Benjamin returned to active duty.

    At the end of March into the first few days of April, the 26th Ohio and the rest of the 4th Corps transferred by train
    to Knoxville and then about 60 miles further northeast to Bull’s Gap, along the East Tennessee and Virginia
    Railroad line, which they helped repair. The reason General Grant ordered the corps northeast in this fashion
    was to better position them to assist blocking any attempt by General Lee to move west and reach Lynchburg
    should he be forced to evacuate two other Virginia towns, Richmond (the Confederate capital) and Petersburg.  
    And under attack by Union forces, Lee did abandon those two cities on April 2 and head toward Lynchburg. But
    he never reached it. On April 9, at Appomattox, VA, almost surrounded by Grant’s forces, Lee surrendered his
    Army of Northern Virginia to Grant. By this time, the 26th Ohio and part of the remaining 4th Corps were at
    Greeneville, TN, still a few hundred miles from Appomattox.

    Lee’s surrender did not end the Civil War. There were still a few other rebel armies to contend with, but Lee’s
    capitulation was greatly celebrated, including by the men of the 26th  Ohio, who continued to work on repairing
    the East Tennessee and Virginia Railroad line. On April 15, however, they received the crushing news that
    President Lincoln, whom they greatly admired, had been shot the previous evening and died the following

    A few days after the Lincoln assassination, the Southern army of General Johnston surrendered to General
    Sherman in North Carolina, and the last significant eastern opposition ended. Even before that, however, the 4th
    Corps had received orders to move west to Nashville, closer to remaining opposition still existing further south in
    Alabama and in Texas. By April 26, the 26th Ohio arrived in Nashville and soon encamped near the city. They
    would remain there until mid- June. The men heard rumors that they might be sent to Texas, where a small army
    under Confederate General Edmund Kirby Smith continued to put up opposition. But on May 26, he finally agreed
    to capitulate. This came after another Confederate force had agreed to surrender terms at Citronelle, AL on May
    4 and after Confederate President Jefferson Davis was captured on May 10.

    To many, though not all, of the men of the 26th Ohio the war now appeared over and they believed they should
    get to go home. But when the veterans had reenlisted in 1864 they had done so for three years or until the
    government decided they could go home when no longer needed. Officially, the war was not yet over—only in
    1866, did President Andrew Johnson officially declare an end to the war.

    Thus, on June 15th the 4th Corps left Nashville, eventually to end up in Texas. The 26th Ohio came by rail to
    Johnsonville on the Tennessee River, and from there by steamboat to New Orleans. Before reaching New
    Orleans, the steamboat stopped on June 19 at sundown at a small island, where the men were allowed to
    disembark. The island was primarily inhabited by former slaves living in a freedmen’s camp and contained a store
    which some men of the 26th Ohio and another Ohio regiment (the 125th) proceeded to loot. When the lieutenant
    in charge of the island protested to the commander of the 26th Ohio, he was told the men were angry because of
    their new assignment, and the regimental commander took no action to stop the looting.

    After reaching New Orleans, the 26th Ohio and the rest of their Corps encamped for the next several weeks five
    miles below the city. One of the soldiers described the city as beautiful, with plentiful markets, and with an
    appalling number of prostitutes.

    On July 18, the 2nd Division of the 4th Corps, to which the 26th Ohio now belonged, left New Orleans by ocean
    steamer to traverse the Gulf of Mexico to Texas’s Matagorda Bay. Many of the men suffered from seasickness
    along the way. After transferring to a smaller ship they landed at Indianola, about half way between Galveston and
    Corpus Christi. They then hiked northward to Camp Irwin (aka, Camp Placedo), located about 15 miles southeast
    of the small town of Victoria.

    Exactly why they were at Camp Irwin, a barren mosquito-infested place where many got sick, many of the men of
    the Benjamin’s regiment were not sure. Generals Grant and Sheridan, whom Grant had placed in charge of
    western Louisiana and Texas, were attempting to decrease lawlessness and scattered Confederate resistance
    even after General Kirby Smith had surrendered in late May. Moreover, they were concerned with neighboring
    Mexico, where the French government and troops had installed the Austrian Archduke Maximilian as emperor in
    1864. Grant was convinced that Maximilian was assisting the Confederates and vice versa. In late September,
    Sheridan gathered troops, which may or may not have included 26th Ohio soldiers, to San Antonio de Bexar in
    order to impress upon Maximilian American military strength, and Sheridan also made no secret of his wish to help
    restore (as eventually occurred) the man he considered Mexico’s legitimate ruler, Benito Juarez.

    But, in general, there was little for the men of the 26th Ohio to do in Texas except bemoan the fate that had
    brought them there. Among all the Union soldiers who arrived there in mid-1865 almost 500 died due to
    unsanitary camp conditions, lack of fresh water, excessive heat, mosquito-transmitted yellow fever, and other

    Despite his previous bouts with disease, Private Moss seems to have survived Texas without any further serious
    illness. In early October he served as a brigade teamster or wagoner, probably delivering supplies. On October
    21, along with the rest of the 26th Ohio, he was mustered out of his long service at Victoria, Texas.

    Delays, however, partly due to bad weather in the Gulf of Mexico, meant that the 26th Ohio did not reach New
    Orleans until November 4. Unfortunately, two more men of the regiment died of acute dysentery, one on the way
    to New Orleans and one before the men left it. Earlier in the war Benjamin had spent a long time recuperating
    from dysentery, but for many other Civil War soldiers it continued until the end of the war to be a major killer.

    From New Orleans his regiment took a steamboat to Cairo, Illinois, where the Ohio River flowed into the
    Mississippi. From there they rode freight cars, changing a few times, all the way to Indianapolis, from where they
    rode passenger cars to Columbus, OH. From the railway station there, they headed to Camp Chase, where
    Benjamin and the other enlisted veterans received their final pay at the same camp they had begun their training
    four plus years earlier. They then returned to their varying Ohio towns to soon celebrate their first Thanksgiving
    at home in five years.

    In many ways Benjamin was typical Union soldier. He was young and, like most men in his regiment, he went into
    service as a private and was mustered out as a private. In a 1901 Pension Statement, his former Battery
    commander, Capt. William Baldwin, testified, “Private Moss was an active and stalwart man always ready for
    difficult and dangerous duty. He is one of the sort of men . . . [to whom] we owe our final triumph.” His many
    illnesses and court martial were perhaps not so typical, but they were not all that unusual either. He spent more
    than a year of his four and a half years of duty in hospitals, but at least he survived his diseases. Many did not.
    Regarding his court martial, more than 100,000 Union soldiers (according to the research of Thomas Lowry in his
    book Tarnished Eagles) underwent a similar experience on a variety of charges.

    Following the war, Benjamin settled in Covington, Kentucky, just across the Ohio River from Cincinnati, where he
    had been hospitalized for months in 1862-63. In 1868 he married Maria English, who had been born in Ireland.
    She gave birth to 12 children, but only 6 were still living by 1900. For at least part of his career, he worked at
    Bogerschutz Foundry in Covington. After the Disability Pension Act became law in 1890, he, like many other
    veterans, claimed disabilities due to service. His list of Civil-War injuries for an 1891 Pension Medical exam
    included injury to right testicle, fractured skull, rheumatism in body and limbs, malarial poisoning, partial loss of
    eyesight, kidney disease, spinal disease, chronic diarrhea, and heart disease. His former Battery G commander,
    Capt. William Baldwin, later testified that many of Benjamin’s ailments sprung from his Civil-War service.

    Benjamin died on June 12, 1903 of chronic gastritis and cardiac paralysis. He was buried in the Grand Old
    Republic Soldiers’ section of the Linden Grove Cemetery in Covington. His widow, Maria, died April 6, 1910. One
    of the couple’s sons was Harry Walter Moss (1881-1952), our grandfather, whom we remember from our youth.