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Stories of Camp Clay - Part III

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

While one newspaper article mentioned that a visit to Camp Clay found it to be a perfect mudhole, another article mentioned that only one man of the Second Kentucky was ill in camp. Being located next to the Ohio River, visiting the camp was made easy by a newly scheduled steamboat route. From the Cincinnati Daily Press on May 27th:

The steamboat Champion will make regular trips to Camp Clay to day, leaving the foot of Sycamore-street at eight, ten, twelve, two and four o'clock. Returning from camp at nine, eleven, three and seven o'clock.

And from the same issue a sword presentation was mentioned:

SWORD PRESENTATION. A sword and sash was yesterday presented to J. W. Miller, First Lieutenant of Company H, Second Kentucky Regiment, by U. Holstead, of the Daily Commercial. The presentation took place at the residence of M. D. Potter.

Another enterprising steamboat captain also was offering trips to the camp as mentioned in the Cincinnati Daily Press on May 28th:

HO! FOR CAMP CLAY. - Those who wish to make a cheap and comfortable trip to Camp Clay can do so for ten cents, by way of the ferry-boat Cincinnati Belle. For particulars see Captain Air's advertisement in another column.

On May 30th, two mentions concerning the camp were published in the Cincinnati Daily Press:

George W. Neff

SECOND KENTUCKY REGIMENT. - At a meeting of the officers of the Second Kentucky Regiment, Lieutenant-Colonel Geo. W. Neff was tendered the office of Colonel, to fill the vacancy existing, but he declined on account of his youth and inexperience.

LUDLOW HOME GUARD, of Ludlow, Kentucky, will in body visit their Kentucky comrades at Camp Clay, this (Thursday) afternoon, on the new ferry-boat J. L. Ludlow, Captain Gillespie. The boat will leave the foot of Fifth-street at half-past one P. M., touch at Central avenue, Walnut and Lawrence streets, Cincinnati, and at Scott-street, Covington, and Ferry Landing, Newport. Persons desirous of joining in the excursion can do so at either point named. Tickets can be procured on board, twenty-five cents the trip round.

An exciting bit of news appeared in the Highland Weekly News on May 30th:

Col. Anderson Appointed to the Command of the Kentucky Brigade.

The gratifying intelligence that Col. Anderson has been assigned the command of the Kentucky Brigade, reached this city by telegraph yesterday. The dispatch was from Col. Guthrie, now in Washington. It is needless for us to say that the men in Camp Clay are in ecstacies at the thought of being led into battle array by the hero of Fort Sumter.

The ranks of the brigade will be filled up immediately. There will be no difficulty experienced in getting recruits - now not the least.

Thievery in camp? In the June 1st edition of the Cincinnati Daily Press this story appeared:

CASE OF GRAND LARCENY. - On last Sunday afternoon, while Mr. L. C. Simmons was viewing the dress-parade at Camp Clay, he felt a band at his pocket and noticed several suspicions-looking characters about him, evidently eyeing .'him closely. Nearly two hours after he discovered the loss of his watch, valued at about $65. On Tuesday following the same watch was presented at a loan office in this city by Captain George Dasher and received as security for a loan of $12. The property was found and identified by Mr. Simmons and the Captain was arrested on a charge of grand larceny. The examination in the Police Court yesterday morning established the fact that the Captain was within the picket-guard at the time of the theft outside, and that his character hitherto had been unimpeached. The case was dismissed and Jno. Leary was then tried on the same charge. Captain Dasher testified that he had received the watch from Leary to pawn, supposing it to be one that he had had a long time in his possession. At this stage the trial was continued.

On June 4th several mentions of the camp appeared in the Cincinnati Daily Press:

CAMP CLAY MATTERS. - A Court of Inquiry in the case of Captain Dasher, charged with improper conduct, was held at Camp Clay yesterday, but on account of the absence of the Judge Advocate of the Regiment, the matter was postponed till Thursday next.

The enlistments for the war continues, six companies having been mustered into the First Regiment yesterday. They are commanded as follows: Company A, Captain Wisnewski; Company B, Captain Brown; Company C, Captain Becker; Company D, Captain Spillmeyer; Company E, Captain Sedyweek; Captain F, Captain Simmons.

A telegraphic dispatch was yesterday received from Louisville, announcing that two companies had been formed in that city, and were ready to join the Camp. They have been accepted, and will be here in a day or two.

Colonel Woodruff, of Louisville, is likewise in Camp, and will soon have a Second

Regiment organized.

Also, upon the body of Chas. Wright, a soldier, drowned at Camp Clay on Sunday. He was from Louden, Madison County, and unmarried.

We are requested, In behalf of a large number of the soldiers and officers of Camp Clay, to return to the ladies of Covington their thanks for the acceptable donation of clothing and edibles, made them on Saturday last. Soldiers, like other people, remember deeds of kindness.

The Highland Weekly News reported the following on June 6th:

The two Kentucky Union regiments now in Camp Clay, near Cincinnati, are to be armed immediately and stationed in Louisville. It is believed that the Secessionists are about making some movement to carry out their treasonable designs, and these troops are in tended to check them. It will soon be seen whether Gov. Magoffin will attempt to prevent U. S. troops from occupying the soil of Kentucky.

While the next day in the Cincinnati Daily Press a gift of a horse is mentioned:

A FINE charger will be presented to Lieutenant-Colonel Geo. W. Neff, during dress parade at Camp Clay, this afternoon. T. C. Ware, Esq., will deliver the speech.

Yet again from the Cincinnati Daily Press of June 8th:

MAJOR WARREN SPENCER was unanimously elected Captain of the Woodward Guards, at Camp Clay, yesterday afternoon. The Major distinguished himself in the Mexican War, and will not be found wanting.

And to end the third part of these stories, two articles from the Cincinnati Daily Press, June 11th edition:


The election to fill the vacancies in the regimental officers of the Second Regiment now at Camp Clay, was held yesterday, and resulted as follows:

Colonel Wm. E. Woodruff, of Louisville,

Major Chas. D. Sedgwick, of Louisville,

Tho Woodward Guards were mustered into service in the afternoon.


The Kilgour Guards, (reserve militia,) Captain M. Q. Jackson, composed of the citizens of Pendleton and vicinity, had a benefit given them on last Saturday, by the Home Glee Club and Field Band of the First Regiment, Camp Clay. The ladies of the place made it the occasion to present the company with a beautiful silk flag.

The exercises commenced with field music by the band. The Glee Club then sung the song entitled "The Spirit of '76;" after which Miss Mary Thomas delivered a very appropriate address in presenting the flag to the company, which was responded to by Captain Jackson in excellent style.

The exercises were alternated by singing by the Club and musio by the band, which was highly satisfactory to the audience. Miss Price, of the city, sang "E Pluribus Unum," which elicited great praise. The solo on the fife by Major Hoke drew forth loud applause.

The concert was a complete success, every way; the receipts will contribute greatly to the material comforts of the company, as about seven hundred persons were in attendance.

The Kilgour Guards, named In honor of Chas. H. Kilgour, Esq, who contributed a considerable sum toward its equipment, already numbers upward of sixty men, mainly the employee of the Little Miami Railroad at the company's shops In Pendleton. At the close of the concert three cheers were given by the Kilgour Guards for their beautiful flag.

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