|Capt. William H Ross, Co C|
Source: The Ohio Soldier, Vol. 1:1, August, 1887.
Captain William H Ross was featured in a full page article in the first edition of the The Ohio Soldier weekly that began publication August, 1887. Below are quoted excerpts from that article.
The 26th Association met for its annual meeting in 1887 at Ashley, Ohio. Capt. J F Doty of Delaware, gave a tribute to a fallen comrade of the 26th OVI, Capt. William H Ross of Co. C. Capt Doty wrote:
" The sword has long since been sheathed, the musket stacked and the cannon dismantled; the men who operated these engines of war have long since returned to the peaceful avocations of life. And yet when we gather ourselves together on such occasions as this our memories naturally drift back to the time when these instruments of destruction were all engaged in deadly conflict... to speak of one who in this struggle sacrificed his life... I refer to Capt. Wm. H. Ross. We, as his companions, most us us, knew him only as soldier, but his life as a citizen was no less useful or honorable..."
" He was born in Clinton Co. Pa, Jan. 26th, 1817...on the 16th day of Dec., 1836, was married to Miss Harriet Martin... he worked in the iron furnaces ( around Pittsburgh) as a puddler... until 1850 , when he again moved, settling in Youngstown, Ohio, and engaged in keeping the leading hotel of the place... he was of scotch descent and took much pride in being able to trrace his lineage directly to Geo. Ross, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence..."
" When the arm of treason was raised to strike at the life of our country, he was among those who very early volunteered his service in its defense... He entered the service as 1st Lieutenant of the Co. G, 26th OVI, June 24th, 1861...was promoted to Captain, July 20, 1862, was permanently assigned to Company C, where he remained until Sept. 19th, 1863, when he was killed at the battle of Chickamauga, while in command of his company in that memorable struggle..."
" He was buried on the field, ans some time after was removed to the National Cemetery at Chattanooga, and in the fall of 1868 was again removed to Youngstown, O., by the Free Masons ( of which order he was an honored member ) and where his remains were finally deposited, and the spot carefully marked by friends and loved ones who delight to do him honor..."
"...If one who was well acquainted with Capt. Ross should be asked the question, ' What kind of a soldier was he?'...he was apt to get our first and most favorable impression of a soldier from his soldierly bearing or appearance, and his ability to command or make an elegant display of military tactics and regulations. As to these qualifications, Capt. Ross had neither. He probably never learned to give a single command correctly, and yet I would be far from saying he was not after all one of the truest types of the volunteer soldier I ever knew. His conduct towards his men was always kinds and courteous; always recognizing the fact that his men were in every respect, except military rank, his entire equal; and he used the rank itself in seeking their comfort and welfare equally with his own, always ready to divide his comforts, even his last cracker, with them, and in this manly way got such a strong hold upon his men that their only desire was to do as he wanted them. His men, mostly younger than he, when in ranks learned to anticipate in advance the command which he could not give, and obeyed his wishes as implicitly as though the command had been given with the precision of Col. Young. After all, did he fail in the real qualities that makes a man a true soldier?..."
"...The real purpose of a soldier's life is to fight well the battles of his country, and in time of battle, the bravery and coolness of Capt. Ross inspired his men to firmness that no eloquence of command could have done, and therefore brought out their best soldierly qualities in their severest struggles... allow me to speak of his eloquence of command... At that desperate struggle at Chickamauga [ Viniard Field], when perhaps the strain was greater than on any other occasion in the history of the company or regiment and for the first time it began to appear that we must wither away in the face of the enemy, when three-fourths of his company had already fallen, including plucky Lieut. Shotwell, and another charge had to be made when the men began to look to him to see how he would stand, he was equal to the occasion..."
" He in that heated contest, and inspired for that supreme moment, stretched forth his sword in one hand and his hat in the other, standing firm shouted clear and loud, ' Men stand for your country ', and in the same moment when victory seemed to be ours, fell, himself a sacrifice on his country's altar...."
" In a letter written by Col. Young, dated Chattanooga, Tenn., Sept., 30th, 1863, addressed to Mrs. Ross, I take the following extract: ' I knew him as a citizen soldier, the kind friend, the courteous gentlemen, genial companion, true patriot, brave hero, faithful officer and upright man. Ever generous, with heart and hand open to all, gentlemanly in his bearing, genial in his intercourse, firm in his convictions, but liberal in his views, unsewering in his patriotism, unflinching in his bravery, unwearied in his labors, untiring in his devotion to his men, and unbending in his integrity, one could but respect, admire, esteem and love him.' In speaking of that final charge he says: ' The charge was gallantly made through a murderous fire. Capt. Ross was by my side, conspicous among the host, cheering his men and contrbuting not a little to the enthusiasm of the moment. The rebel line wavered, gave a parting volley and fled. Your husband's sword was high up and his voice joining the cheer of victory, when the messenger of death reached him, and his life blood made sacred another spot of southern soil. He fell with the cheers of victory on his face, but the paralysis of death upon his heart. None lent himself with more zeal to win that victory than Capt. Ross. No one is more entitled to the glory of that hour than he.'"
" And now after nearly a quarter of a century has passed, and so many of his comrades of the 26th Regiment are gathered together and giving a few minutes to special rememberance of him, this last command of Capt. Ross seems to come to us with the halo of holy benediction: ' MEN, STAND BY YOUR COUNTRY."
The below are two photos: the one on the left is of Capt Ross' final resting place as part of the Ross family plot, at Oak Hill Cemetery, Youngstown, Ohio. The photo on the right is taken at the Chattanooga National Cemetery and may be the marker from his previous burial there until 1868.
| Capt Wm H Ross' Tombstone
Oak Hill Cemetery, Youngstown, Ohio
| Wm Ross Tombstone ?
Chattanooga National Cemetery