Clock Tower

Out of the Clock Tower

Hello and welcome to the Greene County Archives' blog, "Out of the Clock Tower".  Please join us as we share information on archival issues, news, special events, and highlights from our collection.

Before the archives program began in Greene County in 1996, permanent records were stored in every conceivable space, in basements, garages, and closets. Usually they were in boxes of various shapes and sizes, although seldom adequately labeled, but occasionally they were just in loose piles of books and papers. Most notable were the old records stuffed into the clock tower of the County Courthouse, where they shared their home with pigeon droppings.

Now, there is a clean, environmentally controlled, well appointed location for the county archives, where our historical records are housed in standard sized boxes on steel shelves. We have taken note of their journey in the name for our blog.

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Jan 14

The Squirrel Hunters from Greene County

Posted on January 14, 2016 at 8:20 AM by Elise Kelly

 Into the second year of the American Civil War, Union and Confederate forces had already clashed in the states of Virginia, Missouri, North and South Carolina, Florida, Kentucky, West Virginia (Virginia at the time) and Oklahoma (Indian Territory at the Time). Battle of Yorktown
Yorktown Artillery, by James F. Gibson, 1862 via Wikimedia Commons

Confederate Heartland Offensive

John Jasper
"John Jasper Simmons" (on the left) advanced into Kentucky with Gen. Smith,1862 via Wikimedia Commons
 During September of 1862, Confederate forces under General Kirby Smith marched into the bluegrass state and captured Lexington, KY.

Smith ordered General Henry Heth to  move north and capture Covington, KY and Cincinnati, OH.
At this time, Cincinnati was the sixth largest city in the United States.

In order to prepare for the invasion, Union General Lewis Wallace declared martial law. Wallace closed Cincinnati businesses and issued a call in Ohio, Indiana and Michigan for a volunteer militia.

Owners closed up shop and reported for duty. The civilian soldiers were commanded to prepare defensive structures including trenches for the oncoming attack against Ohio's southern border.

Upon the orders of Ohio's Governor, David Tod, a number of counties in Ohio dispatched volunteers to Cincinnati and even appropriated money to aid their defense. Greene County was one these counties. (See Below).

              Greene County Commissioners Meeting Minutes, Vol. Pg. 221.
Commissioners Journal
The Governor having this day by proclamation notified the people of the State of Ohio, that the Southern border of the state was in danger of being invaded by the Rebels: and having called for me to aid in checking the Rebels. The Citizens this day made application for an appropriation from the County Treasury of funds for furnishing ammunition for those that have volunteered for the emergency:

It is therefore ordered by the commissioners that the sum of Two Hundred Dollars be appropriated for the purpose of furnishing ammunition to those who have volunteered to defend our border; and that the County Auditor is authorized to pay on the certificate of the Military Committee for such ammunition not to exceed Two Hundred Dollars.

Squirrel Hunters
 Governor Tod proclaimed that only armed men should report for duty. Civilian men from sixty-five counties numbering 15,766 arrived by railroad to the Queen City. (The State of Ohio footed the transportation bill).

Many of the men, termed the "Squirrel Hunters," had out-dated weaponry and had no military training. They called them "Squirrel Hunters" because these were civilian men who took their hunting rifles for battle.
squirrel hunters march
"Squirrel Hunters March" composed by Jessie Brinley, 1863 via Library of Congress

However, their lack of training did not matter at the time because the sheer number of men defending the City of Seven Hills overwhelmed Gen. Heth and his men. Heth was unable to locate any viable points of attack and retracted his forces after just two days.

The Squirrel Hunters returned home and seven months later, Governor Tod discharged the men from military duty. In their discharge letters, Tod thanked them for their service, their patriotism and their sacrifice. Let's take a look at a list of the Greene County Squirrel Hunters. (See Below).

                               Xenia Sentinel, April 28, 1863

We honor the Squirrel Hunters for their sacrifice and service!

Until Next Time!

This Week's Trivia Question: Who was nicknamed the "Savior of Cincinnati?"

Answer to Last Week's Trivia Question:
 Can you name the Xenia Regiment that fought in the Civil War? - Answer: Seventy-Fourth Regiment.

"Squirrel Hunters." Ohio History Connection. Web. 12 January 2016. 


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