The last week of May 1863 was very busy. President Abraham Lincoln received a letter of resignation from Gen. Ambrose Burnside because the president had countermanded his internment of Clement Vallandingham back in Ohio. Lincoln refused to accept the resignation.
On May 29, Gen. Robert E. Lee met with Confederate President Jefferson Davis to discuss the situation at Vicksburg and the failure of Gen. Johnston to attack Gen. U.S. Grant when he had the chance. Davis said to Lee: "General Johnston did not attack Grant promptly, and I fear the result is that which you anticipated if time was given."
A local soldier took to the time to write home about his experiences in the war and readers of the Western Reserve Chronicle learned of a Braceville soldier's death.
News from the Seventh Regiment
May 22, 1863
Dear News: - in its old camp, with its old routine of duties, lies the Army of the Potomac. Refreshed by rest, though weakened by the loss of the nine months and two years men, re-equipped and restored to its former efficiency, it is ready again to be hurled at the enemy at the nod of its leader. But when that time shall arrive - within a week or a month - is a profound secret. There are no indications of a forward movement to be seen.
By the way, this army is honored more than any other, by visits of dignitaries from the "City of Magnificent Distances." "Father Abraham," comes down occasionally to have the soldiers tramp around in the hot sun and dirt - technically called a review. And since our last strategic move, not only the President, but Halleck, Chandler, Wade, and the two Secretaries, Chase & Seward, have been to see us.
Sometimes we doubt whether our being so close to the Capital is of advantage. Surely the Army of the Potomac has been a tool of politicians heretofore - if untrammeled by interference at Washington, the Army of the Potomac should have new sensation of a victory, somebody other than an old political demagogue might be elected! If McClellan did nothing else worthy of note, his removal of this army so far from Washington as the Peninsula was a grand strategic success. Given a good supply of subsistence and ammunition and the entire communication - by rail, telegraph and water - cut between us and the Capital, I believe this splendid army of veterans can march into Richmond this summer!
A civilian would doubt whether hostile armies were on the opposite banks of the somewhat notorious Rappahannock. At Fredericksburg pickets on either side come down to the water to do their washing, indulge in boat rides and --- by the interchange of thought and expression. As a diversion the other day, some of the boys of the first Minnesota threw stones at the Rebs. On another occasion, a Reb washing by the water's edge, roused to fury by the taunts and insults of some of our boys, deliberately stuck his gun into the ground with bayonet down, hung his compliments on it and then stepped back a little ways as if saying 'now I dare you to come on!' Our boys did not want a fistfight!
In addition to the splendid artillery of the Army, a battery of 100 pound parrots has lately arrived at Falmouth. Thus far we have had in use no larger and two batteries of 32 pounders and a battery of 20 pound parrots.
We are looking with interest to the news from United States Grant. If his movement is a success, there is a possibility of the war being transferred to the southwest. This country is so admirable for defensive warfare that we would not suit the Southern Confederacy better than by advancing in this direction. Splendid engineering ability of Lee has had full scope for action on every mile between here and the interesting town said to be somewhere on the bank of the James River. Fighting on the south side of the Rapahannock is so costly in lite and soul profitless in victory, but the boys have rechristened pontoons with the title, "the Bridges of death." But as honest Abe says - "we are legging away." If many of the legs are broken, the end is victory to our cause.
- Elliott F. Grabill
In a sad note, we find an article written about the death of another Trumbull County soldier of the 7th Regiment.
Western Reserve Chronicle
May 27th, 1863
Samuel H. Barnum, 7th Regiment
Samuel H. Barnum, son of Hiram Barnum, Esq., of Braceville, died in the hospital, at Washington, D. C., on the 22nd inst., aged 25.
Mr. Barnum first enlisted in Capt. Barrett's company, 19th Regiment, O.V.I. in the three months' service, and fought gallantly in the battle of Rich Mountain, Va., and all the others in which his regiment was engaged. When the new regiments were being raised last summer he received a recruiting commission as a Lieutenant, conditioned upon his raising twenty five men within ten days. He enlisted sixteen for the 7th Regiment, eight for the 19th, and two for the 24th - 26 men in all, but because he had not enlisted them all for one regiment, he failed to receive his commission, although he had the highest recommendations, and at once enlisted with his sixteen men, at their request in the 7th. In the arduous campaign of the past winter in which the 7th Regiment bore so conspicuous and dangerous part, he won the respect and esteem of his fellow soldiers by his kindness, manliness, and unflinching bravery.
At the Battle of Chancellorsville, on the 2nd inst., the 7th Regiment was lying to the front, near to, and behind a ridge of land, and from that position, Captain McClelland, (who had command of the Regiment) was unable to see where to direct his fire, and here they were lying for some time. At length Capt. McClelland called for three men of Co. H to volunteer to ascertain where the company was. Samuel H. Barnum, William Hunter, and David Wintersteen sprang forward and advanced upon the ridge. They had only advanced about two rods, when Hunter was shot through the wrist and Barnum through the side, as he was retreating to his company, Wintersteen was the only one who remained unhurt. The Regiment had 420 men on the march, most of them being in the fight, a few being on picket duty, and a few detailed for train guard; out of this number eighty seven were killed, wounded, and missing.
The remains of Mr. B. were brought home by his father, and the funeral took place at his residence in Braceville, on Sunday last, attended by a large concourse of people, who were addressed briefly, and to the purpose, by Colonel J. F. Asper, and Mrs. Mercia Boynton Lane. He was buried with military honors; the Warren Firemen (of whom he was formerly a member) tendered their services on the occasion.
He leaves a widow - a daughter of Robert M. Miller, Esq., of this place - and an infant daughter.
Compiled by members of the CW150 Committee of Warren's Sutliff Museum.