Our Country's Fiery Ordeal

A blog about the American Civil War, written and maintained by historian Daniel J. Vermilya, author of The Battle of Kennesaw Mountain (History Press, 2014) and James Garfield and the Civil War (History Press, 2015)

Dedicated to my great-great-great grandfather, Private Ellwood Rodebaugh, Company D, 106th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, killed at the Battle of Antietam, September 17, 1862.

"And may an Overuling Providence continue to cause good to come out of evil, justice to be done to all men where injustice has long prevailed, and finally, peace, quiet, and harmony to come out of this terrible confrontation and our country's fiery ordeal." -- Albert Champlin, 105th Ohio, Diary entry of June 19, 1864 (Western Reserve Historical Society)

Monday, June 20, 2011

"He performed all the duties required of him as a soldier promptly and cheerfully."

Sorry for the paucity of posts on here as of late. It has been a busy few weeks for me, and I hope to get back to posting regularly on here in the weeks to come.

I wanted to take a few minutes this morning to post one of the many documents I have about Elwood Rodebaugh. Among the many pension papers that I have in my posession regarding Elwood's death is a series of letters and affadavits from Elwood's company captain, William Jones, as well as a few members of his regiment. These documents shed some additional details on who Elwood was, how he died, and what happened to his remains. The following is a scan of one of those letters, this one written by Captain William Jones. There is no date listed, but based on the other documents I have, I assume it was written sometime in late 1863. Could it mean that Josephine did not definitively know about Elwood's death until a year after it happened? Quite possibly, but without further documentation, it is impossible to say for sure. Elwood was initially listed as missing from the ranks of the 106th PA, and it was only assumed that he was dead. Most likely, this letter was an attempt to officially move Elwood from the number of missing to the listing of those killed at Antietam. Below the image of the document I have a transcription which is a bit easier to read.

Also, I am working on adding an additional page to this blog that will serve as a biography for Elwood. I plan on posting this document, as well as others, on that page. More on that to come in the future...

I hereby certify on honor that Private Elwood Rodebaugh was a member of Company D, 106th P.V.. That he volunteered on the 26th day of August, A.D. 1861, and from the period of his enlistment up to the battle of Antietam, September 17, 1862, he performed all the duties required of him as a soldier promptly and cheerfully. That he participated in the following battle with unflinching bravery to wit. The siege of Yorktown, Battle of Fair Oaks, Peach Orchard, Savage Stations (where he was wounded yet remained on the field throughout the fight), Glendale, First and Second Battles of Malvern Hill, Second Bull Run, and Antietam at which last named battle I last saw him at the time the division was flanked and compelled to retreat. He had faithfully performed his whole duty on that day up to the time I last saw him. The Company retreated under a galling by which many were killed. The said Rodebaugh had shaven off a very heavy set of whiskers only a few days before the battle and would not have been readily recognized. I truly believe he was killed while in the performance of his duty and not recognized by the burial parties and I have reported him missing in battle and supposed to be killed on the field.

                William N. Jones

                Captain, Company D, 106th Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteers

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