After the Battle of Antietam, the Seventh Ohio - what little of it was left - moved with the Army of the Potomac to the area around Harpers Ferry, Va. Their numbers were less than 100 strong at this point. Company H of Warren had less than 20 members on active duty.
After six months of continuous movements and fighting five major battles, the regiment settles in for a much-needed rest.
The Lorain County News published the following: "If any regiment in the army is entitled to the appellation of 'Veterans,' the old Seventh has well earned the title. It has stood in the front of five hard-fought battles, and on every field has buried scores of its bravest men.
''Cross Lanes, Kernstown, Port Republic, Cedar Mountain and Antietam - what a glorious record. There is reason for the love with which the whole Reserve follows it, and the honor which it accords it.
''When treason is crushed, and Ohio makes record, as she ought and will of her patriot's soldiers who took the field for the Union, she will have no prouder place for any of her gallant regiments than for the names of the full thousand who, 15 months ago, followed the flag of the Seventh into Virginia."
In 15 months, the regiment lost the services of 900 men. Killed, wounded, prisoners of war, disease, accidents, and yes a few desertions.
The Seventh would remain on Bolivar Heights near Harpers Ferry until the first week in December. The duty here was brutal. Picket duty was the hardest duty the men had faced since the war started. The mountainous terrain made it a very dangerous endeavor, especially at night, where men often fell and broke bones while finding their way in the dark.
The following excerpt from newspaper reports at the time illustrate their stay at this dangerous but beautiful part of the country:
Lorain County News, Oct. 8, 1862
From the Seventh
Loudon Heights, Va.
Sept. 25, 1862
Editor News: Up above the world so high, I seat myself to pen you a few lines.
In our nomadic career, we pause it awhile and picture the view upon Loudon Heights overlooking the famous town of Harpers Ferry, Bolivar Heights and any amount of surrounding area. How long we shall be allowed to roost on our rocky area, the bellicose powers that be, only know.
Our conveniences are few, we are obliged to go to the foot of the mountain, a mile or more for water. The top of the mountain is all rock, so to sleep, we have to wedge our bones between the stones. The preparatory training that we have been receiving this summer has so diminished our dimensions that it required but a small crevice for our accommodation.
During the past two months we have been so continually on the move, but it has been almost impossible for us to keep our friends informed, that we were still on this mundane sphere, let alone telling them that we were doing what we were intended to do.
Once more we find ourselves upon the sacred soil. After six months campaigning, we find ourselves almost within sight of our first battlefield in the Valley. Six months ago we entered the valley full of hope and sanguine of a speedy termination of the war: fairing only that it might end without giving us an opportunity of meeting the enemy and winning a few laurels.
We enter it now with no such feelings; we have met the enemy and our laurels - enough to satisfy the most ambitious. Disguise it as we may, the conviction is strong and is gaining ground in the Army that our cause is hopeless and that we will yet be forced to recognize the Confederacy.
Of the gallant bearing of the Seventh and the bloody battle of Antietam, you have no doubt heard. No regiment displayed more real bravery, nor for its size did more execution, and no wonder; we have several old scores against secessia to wipe out ...
As for myself I had the misfortune to be in the hospital. I went over part of the battlefield three days after the battle. I saw enough on that to satisfy my curiosity. There were sites ghastly and horrible enough to satiate the most morbid appetite.
I had always regarded it as a poetical fiction - the bones of fallen heroes bleaching and whitening with the winds. But here it will be a literal truth, how many of the dead there are we'll never know...
Such his glory and fame - such as a soldier's grave - every farmhouse in every barn for six or eight miles around the battleground is a hospital. Many of the wounded are in tents and in the woods.
Poor Goodsell is dead. He died three days after the battle. It was hard for him to die and give up all his plans and prospects for the future. Could we be certain that it was for our country's good, for such noble lives are sacrificed, that we might be somewhat consoled for their loss.
The Seventh Ohio has less than 100 men in ranks, commissioned officers we have two captains, the Adjutant, one Lieut. and Maj. Crane commending the brigade. We had always foolishly supposed that we had enough in the old Seventh to supply our deficiencies of officers, but it seems that our worthy governor thinks differently.
It does seem a little strange to us that civilians who have snuffed the battle afar off can make so much better officers and who have seen a year and a half hard service and faced death and many a bloody battle.
But we have no right to complain, men who were such fools as to enlist in the ranks at the beginning of the war out of patriotism and not for pay or position deserve to stay there no matter what their capabilities for a higher position. I am glad to see the Gov. Todd understands matters and acts accordingly. Had the governor tried, he could not have devised a better way to destroy the efficacy of the old regimens than by commissioning civilians over us.
Our letters grow fewer and farther between. Perhaps it is our fault that her friends do not write to us often are: our opportunities and conveniences for writing are few and meager.
Friends, we invite you to write often. You do not know how much good your letters mean to us. They left us in the scale of being, made us forget for a time that we are the playthings of political demagogues - the tools of military aspirins - mirror machines to fire muskets were targets to be shot out - yes, after reading a good home letter we sometimes fancy that we are men - free men as we were in former times.
Compiled by members of the CW150 Committee of Warren's Sutliff Museum.