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"Whoop, Swear & Yell" or Not All Was Rosy Under Old Rosey - Part One

With my passion for the Civil War, one area I have not really delved into is collecting artifacts. However over the last year or two I have purchased a few items, and do own two weapons that were owned for many years by my grandfather. My tiny collection of Civil War period "stuff" consists of a Spencer carbine carried by the Twelfth Illinois Cavalry in the Red River Campaign, a M1863 Springfield that was modified after the war for hunting use, two reunion ribbons for the Thirty-Fifth Ohio Infantry, a letter written by a Second Ohio cavalryman to his brother from Camp Dennison, a carte de visite of an unidentified man from the Twenty-Third Ohio, the War Department papers of Marcus P. Bestow indicating his brevet promotions to major, lieutenant colonel, and colonel (Bestow was a member of the Groundhogs, the Twenty-Sixth Ohio Infantry), and most recently some interesting court martial papers of four men, one from the Seventy-Ninth Indiana, another from the Eighth Kentucky, and two chaps from Ohio, who served in the Fifty-First and Fifty-Ninth Ohio Volunteers. These regiments were all in the Third Division, XXI Army Corps during the spring of 1863. These four men were court martialed for a variety of charges, and all had their hearings on April 29th, 1863.


Head Quarters, 3d Division, 21st A. C.

Murfreesboro, April 29th, 1863


General Orders

No. 28

By a General Court Martial which convened at the Head Quarters of Brig, Gen'l H. P. Vancleve, Commanding 3d Division, Murfreesboro, Tenn. on the 9th day of April 1863, pursuant to General Orders No. 20 frim Head Quarters, 3d Division, 21st A. C., dated April 9th, 1863, of which Col. George H. Cram, 9th Ky. Vols. is president, was arraigned and tried.

 

One of the men court martialed that day was Private James T. Grisham, a member of Company H, Fifty-Ninth Ohio Volunteers. Grisham (listed as James L. on the court martial records), was born in 1840, and would muster into the Fifty-Ninth as a private on October 20th, 1861.


Charge 1st Violation of the Ninth Article of War [1]

Specification: In this, that he, James T. Grisham, an enlisted soldier in the Service of the United States, a private of Company "D" 59th Regt. Ohio Vol. Infantry, did offer violence against Joseph Day, Provost Sergt. of Said Regiment while Said Sergt. was in the discharge of his duties, by throwing a Spade at Said Sergt., all this done at Camp of 59th Regt. Ohio Vols. Infantry near Murfreesboro, Tenn. on or about the 18th day of March 1863.


Charge 2nd Conduct to the prejudice of good order and Military discipline.

Specification: In this, that he, James L. Grisham, an enlisted man in the Service of the United States, a private of Company "D" 59th Regt. Ohio Vols., did on or about the 18th day of March 1863 became intoxicated and did Whoop, Swear & Yell in the most Profane Manner, and did raise a disturbance in Camp Generaly and especially by his Profane Swearing and loud talking, disturb and interrupt divine service and when ordered by his Company Commander to keep silence refused to do so and when ordered under arrest resisted the Sergeant of the guard sent to arrest him. All this was done at Camp of the 59th Regt. O. V. I. near Murfreesboro, Tenn., on or about the 18th day of March 1863.


Charge Violation of the Fifth Article of War [2]

Specification: In this, that the Said James L. Grisham, an enlisted soldier in the Service of the United States, Private of Company "D" 59th Regt. Ohio Vols. Infantry, did use disrespectful language towards his superior officers. He, the Said James L. Grisham, Said "God dam old Rosecrans! I won't work for him, or any other God Damn Son of a bitch." "God dam old Frambes! He can't make me work. No can any other Man!" " God dams Capt. Higgins! I can whip him or any other God dam Capt. in the Regiment," all this at Camp of 59th Regt. Ohio Vols. near Murfreesboro, Tenn. on or about the 18th day of March 1863. [3]


To which the prisoner pleaded as follows

Chrgs.

To the first Specification to first charge - Guilty

To the last charge - Guilty

To the Specification to the second charge - Guilty

To the Second charge - Guilty

To the Specification to the 3d Charge - Guilty

To the Third Charge - Not Guilty

Findings of the Court

Of the Specification to the first Charge - Guilty

Of the first Charge - Guilty

Of the Specification to the second Charge - Guilty

Of the second charge - Guilty

Of the Specification to the Third charge - Guilty

Of the third charge, for the reason that the Specification to the third charge does not sustain the charge - Not Guilty

Sentence

And the Court do therefore sentence him, the Said James L. Grisham, private of Company "D" 59th Regt. of Ohio Vols. Infantry to forfeit Thirteen Dollars ($13.00) per Month of his Monthly pay for three (3) Months, and that he he be placed and Kept at hard labor in and about the Camp of the said 59th Ohio Vols. with a Twelve (12) pound ball fastened with a chain to his leg for a period of Thirty (30) days as such labor as the Commanding officer of the Said Regt. may order.


Grisham must have corrected his drunken and loud behavior (having one's movement restricted by a twelve pound ball might have that effect) as he would continue to serve with the Fifty-Ninth until the regiment mustered out of service on November 1st, 1864. Grisham would marry in late 1865, and live until 1902. He is buried in the Cowan Creek Cemetery in Clinton County, Ohio.

 

The next man listed on the court martial is Second Lieutenant Willis C. Workman of the Fifty-First Ohio Volunteers. Workman was born in Coshocton County, Ohio in 1837. He would first serve in the three month version of the Sixteenth Ohio as a private before being promoted to first lieutenant, and then would mustered into the Fifty-First, again as a private, in early October 1861. He would be promoted to second lieutenant on Christmas Day 1862.


Charge Neglect of Duty

Specification 1st: That Leiut. Willis C. Workman, 51st Ohio Vols., being on duty, 2d in rank at Station No. 3 of the 3d Division Picket, 21st A. C.. but claiming to be responsible at this time as commander, did allow two horseman to approach his Station, without being challenged,, This at or near Murfreesboro, Tenn. on or about the 11th of April 1863, about 4 O'clock, A. M.


Specification 2d: That Lieut. Willis C. Workman, 51st Ohio Vols., being on duty, aforesaid, did allow the Division officer of the day, and his orderly, to take possession of the Stacks of arms at his station, he having No Sentinel over Said arms, and No one near enough to protect them. This at or near Murfreesboro, Tenn., on or about the 11st day of April 1863, about 4 O'clock, A. M.


To which the accused pleaded as follows

To the first Specification of the charge - Not Guilty

To the Second Specification of the charge - Not Guilty

To the Charge - Not Guilty

Findings of the Court

Of the first Specification to the charge - Guilty

Of the Second Specification to the charge - Guilty

Of the charge - Guilty

Sentence

And the Court does therefore Sentence him, the Said 2d Lieut. William C. Workman, 51st Ohio Vols. Infantry to be privately reprimanded by his Commanding officer of his regiment. [4]

The Court is this lenient in their Sentence because of the previous good character of the accused as a Soldier and officer, and because Men enough were not furnished to supply a guard exclusively for the Guns, and because the Men at the Station at the time of the Division officer of the day had just returned and were just returning from duty at the outpost.


Workman must have been a competent officer, as he would be promoted to first lieutenant on May 25th, 1864. Unfortunately he would be killed a month later at Kennesaw Mountain. He was twenty-six years old. He is buried in Plainfield Cemetery, in his home county of Coshocton.

 

Part Two will cover the men from Indiana and Kentucky.

 

I decided to only edit the court martial records by adding punctuation when needed. All capitalization as appears in the original.

 

Notes

[1] Any officer or soldier who shall strike his superior officer, or draw or lift up any weapon, or offer any violence against him, being in the execution of his office, on any pretense whatsoever, or shall disobey any lawful command of his superior officer, shall suffer death, or such other punishment as shall, according to the nature of his offense, be inflicted upon him by the sentence of a court-martial.


[2] Any officer or soldier who shall use contemptuous or disrespectful words against the President of the United States, against the Vice-President thereof, against Congress of the United States, or against the Chief Magistrate or Legislature of any of the United States, in which he may be quartered, if a commissioned officer, shall be cashiered, or otherwise be punished, as a courts-martial shall direct; if a non-commissioned officer or soldier, he shall suffer such punishment as shall be inflicted on him by the sentence of a court-martial.


[3] Frambes is Lieutenant Colonel Granville A. Frambes, commanding officer of the Fifty-Ninth. Higgins is Captain Robert H. Higgins, commander of Company D. I believe we all know of Rosecrans.


[4] Stanley Matthews, a Cincinnati lawyer and later politician and Supreme Court justice, was colonel of the Fifty-First, but he resigned on April 11st, 1863. The newly appointed Richard W. McClain was now serving as the colonel of the Fifty-First.

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