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Stories of Camp Clay - Part II

Updated: Feb 10, 2021

This is the second part featuring newpaper articles written about and from Camp Clay, a mustering in location near Cincinnati for Federal Kentucky units early in the Civil War.

On May 16th, 1861 the local Cincinnati Daily Press printed this appeal:

AN APPEAL TO THE LADIES. As yet no lint nor bandages bare been furnished to the soldiers at Camp Clay, and as the regiments stationed there are to move to the seat of

war soon, we hope a supply will be furnished by the benevolent ladies of the city.


From the Fremont Daily Journal, also dated May 16th, taken from an article in the Columbus Journal, appeared more details about the attempted poisoning mentioned in Part I:


The soldiers at Camp Clay, near Cincinnati, received information, a few days ago, that a design was on foot to poison the cisterns from which they obtained water for cooking and drinking. It came from such a reliable source that the commanding officers at the camp ordered a special sentinel to guard each cistern night and day. Nothing occurred to confirm the suspicions of the Kentucky volunteers until Friday, when a man approached one of the guards and offered to bribe him to leave his post. The brave soldier was not "for sale," and instead of taking the bribe, he "took" the man who offered it into custody. On searching the rascal, a phial full of strychnine was found In one of his pockets. The use for which this was intended was apparent to the authorities of the camp; so they ordered the villain to be placed in the guard house for further trial. He will be court martialed, and we hope he will receive what he richly deserves.


The next day, back in Cincinnati, a lighter piece from the Cincinnati Daily Press:

FLAG PRESENTATION. - Miss Maggie DeBeck, Miss Hattie Hurd and Miss Kate Dubois, in behalf of the ladies of the Seventeenth Ward, presented a handsome flag to Captain Wheeler's Company of Kentucky troops, at Camp Clay, day before yesterday. The presentation speech was made by Miss DeBeck, and was highly patriotic.


On May 18th the Cincinnati Daily Press, the camp is mentioned several times:


Colonel Anderson visited the Kentucky soldiers at Camp Clay, yesterday, and was received with demonstrations of the highest satisfaction. He passed along their ranks, saluting the soldiers, and complimenting them on the progress they had made in the military service, and on their appearance in general.

He was particularly pleased with arrangement of the commissary department, and expressed his approbation of the manner in which it has been managed by Colonel Guthrie.


We call the attention of those who wish to volunteer, to the fact that Colonel Guthrie's First Kentucky Regiment Is now mustered Into active service. Yesterday morning the regiment lacked some one hundred and fifty men to fill up the different companies; last night, however, they had added seventy-eight men at their recruiting office, No. 25 Broadway, above the Spencer House, leaving a deficit of seventy-two. All those who wish to join this regiment should do so this morning, as it will be the only chance. By calling on Lieutenants Geo. W. Hynson and Thos. Hurd, recruiting officers, you be assigned good companies in the regiment.


HO! FOR CAMP CLAY. - Captain Air, with view to the comfort and pleasure of citizens of Cincinnati, Covington and Newport, will run the steamer Cincinnati Belle to Camp Clay, from the foot of Lawrence street, or Newport Ferry Landing, on Sunday, May 19th, commencing in the morning, and making regular trips through the day. Persons having friends or relatives there will find this the shortest and most pleasant route, being entirely free from dust or change of cars or omnibuses.


On May 20th the Cincinnati Daily Press reported on a celebrity visiting the camp:

COLONEL ANDERSON AT CAMP CLAY. - Colonel Anderson visited Camp Clay again, Saturday, and was cordially received by officers and soldiers. He spent some time drilling the men, and, before leaving, complimented them highly on the progress they had made. All are desirous of enrolling themselves under his command.


While on the same day in the opposite corner of the state, the Cleveland Morning Leader talked about recruiting efforts:

TO RECRUITS. - Capt. James E. Stacey and Lieut W. H. Taylor, of the 2d Kentucky regiment, arrived in this city Saturday morning with authority to recruit to the number of 100 men to fill up the regiment. The recruits will be mustered in here, and all their expenses paid to Camp Clay, where the regiment is located. Capt. Stacey and Lieut. Taylor will remain in the city until Tuesday evening, and may be conferred with at Chapin's Hall, east side of Public Square, any time between 2 o'clock to-day and 3 o'clock to-morrow afternoon. It will be borne in mind that Colonel Anderson, the hero of Sumter, will take immediate command of the Kentucky troops, which will include the regiments now in Camp Clay. The opportunity to serve under the noble Anderson will, we doubt not, be hailed by many more than sufficient to fill up ranks of the regiment to which the officers above named are attached. The men required will not be called upon to serve longer than three months, but will have an opportunity to enlist for three years if they desire.


On May 21st, the Cincinnati Daily Press mentioned Catholic services at the camp:

RELIGIOUS SERVICES AT CAMP CLAY. - Archbishop Purcell preached a highly patriotic discourse at Camp Clay, yesterday.


A father, wanting to remove his son from the service, made the news in the Cincinnati Daily Press, dated May 23rd:


A FATHER WANTS TO GET HIS SON OUT OF CAMP. - Judge Paddock allowed a habeas corpus to issue on the affidavit F. Autenreith that his son. F. Autenrelth. jr., was illegally restrained of his liberty at Camp Clay. It appeared that the young man, who is about eighteen years of age, enlisted in Colonel Guthrie's Regiment. Captain Simmons's Company, and his father being anxious for his return home sued out this writ. The Sheriff brought the volunteer into Court, and neither of the officers appearing to defend the case, he was discharged. He intimated however, that it was his intention to go back and join his regiment again to-morrow.


But apparently the fathers of Cleveland had no issue with their sons joining a Kentucky regiment, as indicated in the May 23rd edition of the Cleveland Morning Leader:


Capt Stacey and Lieut. Taylor, whose arrival in this city with authority to recruit 100 men to fill up the above regiment, located at Camp Clay, Kentucky (Ohio), we noticed on Monday last, succeeded in enlisting upward of the number necessary." They left for Camp Clay yesterday afternoon.


But on the same day in recently seceded Arkansas we have a bit of a different view of the recruiting for the Kentucky regiments, from the Arkansas True Democrat (reprinted from the Covington Journal):

Herr Becker has been raising a company in Cincinnati for one of the “Kentucky Regiments,” at Camp Clay, and has petitioned the City Council to equip his “galliant warriors,” who are fresh from Hessen Cassel, Hessen Darmstadt, etc. We happen to know something of Herr Becker. He has been editing a German abolition paper in Cincinnati. He may be a Kentuckian, but unfortunately he does not understand a word of the language spoken. If his commanding officer should send him a message in our language he would have to send an interpreter with it. The “Kentucky Regiment” have made a big show - in the Cincinnati newspapers. The miserable deception has been played out. - Covington (Ky.,) Journal.


Part III

Part IV

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