Inspiration for the 26th OVVI Web Site
The inspiration for the web site began many years ago, when I was but a child. With my family, I visited
several eastern theater civil war battlefields, and my fledgling interest was sparked. As a lad, my father
told me that my great, great, grandfather had fought in the Civil War on the Union side. His name was
Jesse Mason. The family lore, passed down through the generations, was that Jesse Mason may have
been captured at Lookout Mountain at an unknown time, and may have been imprisoned at Andersonville.
There were no more details known or at least shared. In the absence of any definitive information, my
mother loved to tease my father that Mason was most likely captured either sleeping under a tree or while
romancing some southern belle.
A few years ago, at the time of the passing of my paternal grandmother, Genevieve Hill, granddaughter
of Alfred Frost (18th OVI) we found numerous original letters written by other ancestors while they were
fighting in the Civil War: Alfred Frost, Albert Frost (179th OVI), and Samuel Corwin. (Samuel Corwin, who
was a sergeant with the 125th OVI, died of typhoid fever at Franklin, Tennessee in May, 1863.) These
letters provided excellent glimpses into their hopes, fears, and daily trials while in the service during the
war. To date, we have not found any letters written by Jesse Mason.
These letters served as a renewed motivation to learn more. Next, my father and I visited the archives
at the Ohio Historical Society, Columbus. Here we found out the regiment assignments of our ancestors,
and the basic discharge information that was included in the Official Rosters. With this information, we
then sent for their military and pension records at the National Archives at Washington, DC.
We discovered that my great, great grandfather Jesse Mason was a field musician ( a drummer) in co C,
26th OVI. He enlisted at the age of 18 in April, 1861, shortly after President Lincoln's first call for troops.
He was captured at the battle of Chickamauga ( not at Lookout Mountain) on September 19th or 20th,
1863, and he was imprisoned at various confederate prisons, including: Libby, Pemberton, Danville,
Andersonville, Charleston, and Florence until December 7, 1864. Though he suffered severely from
scurvy and was emaciated beyond recognition, somehow he managed to survive, and was honorably
discharged January, 1865. We also discovered that his older brother (and my great great grand uncle),
Benton, also served in Co. C, 26th OVI. Jesse and Benton's older sister, Melissa was married to Jonathan
Sherwood at the time of the War. Sherwood also enlisted with Jesse and Benton in Co. C. Sherwood was
mortally wounded at the Battle of Stones River on December 31, 1862, dying ten days later.
In an effort to learn more, we tried to locate a definitive written regimental history of the 26th OVI, similar
to what is available for many other regiments; however, we came up empty. We did find at the Ohio
Historical archives a booklet by the 26th Association ( the post war fraternal organization for the 26th OVVI
members ) that alludes to the intent to compile such a detailed regimental history. However, in 1895, it
appears that intention could not fulfilled due to the lack of funding to pay for publication. There does exist
excellent company history accounts and/or diaries by Captain Walden Kelly ( company E ) , Sgt. Elias
Cole ( company C), Lt. Luther Timberlake ( company D), Samuel Chestnut ( company B), Thomas
Cantwell ( company D), anbd Charles Brusman ( company H). Thus, we decided that we would research
and compile all available info on the 26th OVI and start a web site as a lasting means to share the
information with any and all interested persons.
We have learned a great deal so far, and believe that the visitor will find the web site contains the most
comprehensive info available on the 26th OVI anywhere in the world. We continue to research and make
new discoveries all the time. The web site continues to be updated and remains a work in progress, and
truly a labor of devotion.
The web site is respectfully and humbly dedicated to the soldiers who fought with the 26th OVVI in
the American Civil War, and to all soldiers who fought and died for what they believed in. On a personal
note, the web site is dedicated to the following thirteen confirmed ancestors who fought in the Civil War;
five of whom, died during the conflict:
Jesse Mason, 26th OVI, Co. C
Benton Mason, 26th OVI, Co. C
Jonathan Sherwood, 26th OVI, Co. C
Samuel Corwin, 125th OVI, Co. E
Tarlton Mason, 125th OVI, Co. E
Alfred Frost, 18th OVI, Co. D
Albert Frost, 179th OVI, Co. A
Edwin Frost, 96th OVI., Co. C
Major Frost, 31st OVI, Co. E
Isaac Guthrie, 151st OVI, Co. K
Benjamin Hill, 27th OVI, Co. C
Caton Hill, 76th OVI, Co. C
Ezra Hill, 76th OVI, Co. K
Their sacrifice, commitment, and perseverence serves as a daily inspiration.
Jeffrey Hill, webmaster
26th OVVI web site