In reviewing the Western Reserve Chronicle of 150 years ago this week, I happened upon an article dated Dec. 15, 1862, submitted by an anonymous correspondent from Howland. Its form suggested it was the first article a Howlander had ever submitted to the press. Certainly the writer had pride in his community. His ardent purpose was to set the record straight about Howland's important and heretofore unrecognized contributions to the war effort.
Even though it was essentially a farming community, Howland supported the war in full measure in proportion to its resources. The author ruefully noted it a slight that no Howlanders to date had been elected or promoted to the commissioned officer ranks, in spite of highly qualified individuals.
Although the utter horror of the war was already manifest by such brutal battles as Shiloh, Second Bull Run, Antietam and Perryville, the author's patriotism still ran high and held hope for individual glory for Howland soldiers. Following are excerpts from the article:
"(To) Editors Chronicle - We see a word anon from our sister towns in your publication, so we of the township of beautiful springs, ask our fellow citizens to lend ear to us a moment. Ours is one of the few towns innocent of a draft [there was no federal conscription at the time] that now has a credit of several volunteers standing by her name against the next call that may be made for men; and this is the cause of more pride, since we have neither village, mine nor oil derrick to supply a 'floating population;' but most of our delegates in the Grand Army of the Union have chalked their first problems on blackboards in this town and were tillers of the soil. ..."
The author went on to cite the various blankets and supplies Howlanders had sent to troops in the field, noting that "... we have modestly refrained from taking to ourselves the praise, and in more than one instance it has been bestowed on adjoining towns.
"Out of the many men we have spared from our farms for the national service what one has an opportunity to win for himself or his township a glorious name? Although we furnished nearly a full company (normally a hundred men) of three-year volunteers we have no commissioned officer. Not that we have no men worthy to lead, while they are yet willing to follow, but we have been too modest to claims our dues. We have in the 24th O.V.I. (Ohio Volunteer Infantry) Color Seargent Egbert Andrews and Corporal (William) Wallace Drake and in the 6th O.V.C. (Ohio Volunteer Cavalry) Frank Shafer also in the 125th O.V.I. (not yet deployed at the time) Alson C. Dilley, Seargeant. Elmore H. Andrews (105th OVI, Co. I) deserved a commission and did not receive it, so like the noble man he was, he went forth as a private and with our other dear boys was driven by the outnumbering, victorious foe over the long dusty road in hunger, thirst and weariness through the burning heat; from Lexington to Louisville; whence, after s short delay, they marched to Chaplain Hill (Battle of Perryville, KY), where he and two other of our bravest young men, lay down in death.
"At the Battle of Shiloh Seargent Egbert Andrews received four shots in his clothes, one ball grazing his side, another wounding him in the one arm, yet he clung through all his dreadful pain to the color staff until he saw the enemy retreating. For this and numerous gallant deeds previous, he received only the praise of his superiors and the gratitude of his townsmen. Seargent A. (Alson) C. Dilley went with 'our boys in Cumberland' under Captain H.B. Case in the 84th OVI serving as a private. Being one of those to which the wishes and feeling of others are second only to an enlightened sense of duty, to point of sacredness, he won the love of his fellows as well of the warm approval of his officers. Like his brother Lewis S. Dilley Orderly Seargent of Co. E 103d OVI he (Alson C. Dilley) is strictly temperate in all things , and like him, firm and cool. No obstacle can long obstruct the way that he wills to tread. Truthfulness, energy, courage, patience that works and hopes are qualities of his intelligent mind that must procure his promotion (if such things are demanded as qualifications) whenever vacancies occur. The same is true of L. S. Dilley, formerly editor of the Central Illinoian, and is now army correspondent of the Cleveland Leader; from which office he went out as a soldier."
The virtues of the Dilley brothers eventually bore fruit, both becoming officers. Lewis S. rose to captain of Co. E 103th OVI while Alson C. re-enlisted in the 125th OVI as a first lieutenant. Unfortunately, he was killed at Kennesaw Mountain in July 1864.
Trumbull County sent 4,600 men into the Federal ranks during the four years of the war. Certainly, Howland contributed its fair share of men to the cause.
Compiled by members of the CW150 Committee of Warren's Sutliff Museum.