The 7th Ohio Infantry returned to the Washington, D.C., area on Sept. 10, following recent the draft riots.
In the next six days the men would march another 75 miles. On the way to Alexandria, Va., on the Sept. 18, a memorable incident occurred. An excerpt of one of the men of the 7th diaries follows:
"Camp on the Rapidan River. Rained all night and most of the day. At 2 pm we were ordered to witness the execution of two deserters from the 18th NY Volunteer Infantry. One did not die until the 3rd firing from a squad from the 28th Pa. The executed men were buried face down in their coffins so they could not look toward Heaven. It was a very difficult day. General Slocum rode up before they were shot but turned away before the order to fire was given."
The following comes from a compilation of several diaries of men who served in the 7th Ohio. It details the trip from Alexandria, Va., to Wartrace, Tenn. It also has an interesting entry about the election of the next Ohio governor.
Saturday - September 26th, 1863
Reveille roused us at 5 a.m., and after breakfast we had to march as the cars did not come. We crossed the Rappahannock and came to Bealeton. We marched 10 miles before 11 o'clock. The Guerrillas burned a bridge between here and Alexandria so that delayed the cars.
Sunday - September 27th,
We left Bealeton at 2 p.m. and arrived at Alexandria just before dark. We saw some of Battery I boys. They are going to Tenn. also. We soon came on and crossed the long bridge, 1/2 miles long. We bought what we wanted in Washington. At 11 o'clock p.m. we arrived at Relay House.
Monday - September 28th
Cumberland Md. 6 p.m.
We have been riding all night and all day. We came through Harpers Ferry and Martinsburg. At Martinsburg we got coffee and bread. The scenery has been fine, mountains and valleys. The R.R. follows the windings of the river. We passed many little towns where the people cheered and waved their handkerchiefs. It is said that Hooker is to command 3 Corps and ours is one.
Tuesday -September 29th
Grafton Va. - Noon
We have stopped here for dinner just as the cars stopped one of Co. B. tried to jump off the cars but slipped and the car passed over one of his legs. It will be amputated. We passed thru Kingwood Tunnel 1 1/4 miles long also thru several other Tunnels. Bellaire Ohio this evening. We arrived here at 10 o'clock and crossed the river on a pontoon bridge. We got coffee on the river bank made by boys from Wheeling Va. Bellaire is a Secesh hole."
Wednesday - September 30th
We took cars and left Bellaire at 10 am. We had a tent piece nailed on our car bearing the Motto Death to Vallandingham- hurrah for Brough. We saw some copperheads along the road but our boys made them hunt shelter. We came thru Zanesville at 9 p.m. One soldier was killed at Zanesville by being hit by the bridge."
Thursday - October 1st
We arrived at Columbus at 6 a.m. Ward and I went up town to find the market and did not get back till the train had gone. Had a good visit and a good breakfast. We left Columbus at 11 a.m. on the express and moved to Richmond Ind. The people of Xenia gave us all we wanted.
Friday - October 2nd
We left Richmond, Ind. at 10 p.m. but came only as far as Centerville- 5 miles. About daylight the people of the town commenced bringing provisions and inviting the soldier's home to breakfast. We saw two old men who were born at Gettysburg Pa. The young ladies sung patriotic songs at the depot. The people were very fine all the way to Indianapolis, where we arrived at noon. We took dinner there and about dark got on board the cars.
Saturday - October 3rd
Louisville Ky. We arrived here at 6 a.m. or at Jeffersonville, Ind. Just across the river. We crossed the river on a Ferry boat and marched through the city to the depot. We remained in town till 11 o'clock am. Louisville is a pretty place. On leaving Louisville we had over 40 men in each car and were very crowded. We came over many high bridges and through two long tunnels. The country is wild & rough most of the way. We stopped at Elizabethtown while 6 trains passed us.
Sunday - October 4th
Nashville Tenn.- We arrived here at daylight having run very fast. The train before us run off the track but no one hurt. Nashville is a fine looking place and the Capitol, a fine looking stone edifice, stands on a hill in the center. Left it at 10 a.m. Passed thru Laverne & Murfreesboro. Saw the old battle field. Went on through Wartrace and Christiana to Tullahoma, Al. On arriving here we were ordered to get off the car and stack arms as an attack was expected from rebel cavalry. Lt. Lockwood commanded the regiment, as other officers are behind.
Monday - October 5th
We put up our camp expecting to stay a few days but we soon heard that the rebs were attacking Murfreesboro, and we were ordered to be ready to leave. Tullahoma has been quite a place but war has about used it up. Part of the 9th Ohio battery and part of the 33d Ind. regt. is there. At about 11 o'clock p.m. we heard a train come in and were ordered up to get aboard. The 66th and 7th and one piece of Artillery- came down 9 miles to a bridge across the river. It was very cold last night and we got but little sleep.
Tuesday - October 6th
At noon the 7th & 66th got on board the cars and we run to within one half mile of Wartrace where we saw reb cavalry in the Place. Col. Coburn immediately put back taking the guards from the bridge 1 mile out of Wartrace. We waited two hours at Duck River when 1,500 of our Cavalry came up. We then came down on the cars and when in sight of the bridge saw reb cavalry burning it. We were too late and the rebs fled, pursued by our cavalry who wounded some. Soon after we were joined by troops from the Division and are camped for the night by the river.
Wednesday - October 7th
This morning we marched to War Trace and after remaining a short time a brigade of us set out for Shelbyville 12 miles. When within a mile of the place we learned that our cavalry had driven off the rebs and we received orders to march to "Bell Buckle" 13 miles. We marched till 10 p.m. over a very rough road and camped a mile from Bell Buckle. I slept under a shed with a good bed of hay. Col. Gibbons of the 102d Ohio had command today.
Friday - October 9th
We marched two miles to where the rebs had torn up the track. We stacked arms on the bank of Stone River. Many hands were at work and by noon the rail road was repaired and a train passed. Maj. Gen'l Butterfield passed by on foot. Late in the afternoon Lt. Jones and other officers came up and brought mail.
Sunday - October 11th
We got orders to report to Col. Creighton at Wartrace. When the 2 o'clock train came we go on board and rode to Wartrace. The Col. was one mile beyond at Garrison Creek so we went on and camped on the bank of the creek. We got some boards to put up a shanty.
Monday - October 12th
We got boards from a house near here and commenced building but about 3 o'clock word came that our regt. is to go to Wartrace so we stopped work and put up our tents. It rained last night and is now raining again. We have heavy guard duty to do. Some of our boys came off guard this morning and had to go on again immediately.
Tuesday - October 13th
This has been Election Day and we have had a rainy time. At 10 a.m. the polls were opened Andrews, Raymond and I were elected judges. We had votes from 4 counties and polled 26 votes all for John Brough. No vote was cast in the regt. for Vallandingham "the Traitor". I bought some corn bread, milk and eggs and we had a good supper. We have had no mail for several days.
Wednesday - October 14th
We moved our camp to Wartrace leaving three companies at the bridge. We got lumber from an old camp and commenced putting up our quarters. It rained hard all day but we worked on and got wet. At 4 o'clock Burns and I were detailed to guard prisoners. 95 rebs were brought in from Wheelers gang. At 5 p.m. we were ordered to go to Murfreesboro with the rebs. We took cars and came down and delivered the rebs to the Provo Marshall. We got supper at a saloon and then built a fire and tried to get dry. We slept in a building.
Compiled by members of the CW150 Committee of Warren's Sutliff Museum.