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Recollections of a
After Fifty Years
WILLIAM DOUGLAS HAMILTON
CAPTAIN OF INFANTRY, 1861-1862
EARS ago at one of the reunions of the Ninth
Ohio Cavalry it was voted that I should write
a history of our regiment. I was so occupied in business then that I could not find time to comply with their wishes. Now that I have had sufficient time I have carried out their request.
With the help of some of my old comrades, I have undertaken to dig through the accumulated memories of fifty years and record incidents.-many of them commonplace enough to us then, but to which time has added a charm which warms our hearts to each other and to this dear land of ours.
As a regiment the Ninth Ohio Cavalry, which belonged to the Army of the West, operated most of the time under general orders on its own responsibility. Often stationed quite in advance of the infantry, we were thus brought into close touch with the Southern people, and as a result dislikes on both sides were very much modified.
Professional historians have written of the campaigns and battles of the Civil War. The incidents here preserved are side-lights on its dark background but they helped in a small way to modify the bitterness of it all.
This story has been written for the benefit of those who will come after us, and in the hope that there will never be any call for the youth of our country to further develop the art of war. This wish is more sincerely felt since there is a very dear grandson and namesake of mine* now in the senior class at the Military School at West Point, and my cherished hope and faith is that he may be assigned to the development, rather than to the defence, of our God-given resources, and that there may never arise any national problems that may not be settled by the wisdom of our advancing civilization without recourse to the barbarity of arms. The many schools, colleges and churches in this great country dedicated to the humanities and the higher arts of peace should in time insure this.
This record is inscribed to the memory of my fallen comrades, and with an affectionate greeting to the few who remain, I bequeath it to our children.
W. D. H.
* Douglas Hamilton Gillette.
“War is a game, which, were their subjects wise, kings would not play at.”—Cowper's Task.
HE world stands aghast at the deplorable con
dition of Europe today. A continent divided
into independent states which are now being over run, their boundaries changed, their cities burned, their defenders butchered, their families starved and their territory absorbed to feed the ambition of despotic rulers.
Our fore-fathers in forming a government out of a number of colonies then existing, wisely provided that they should remain together and be known as the United States of America, and that each new state should make its laws conform to the laws of the general government.
The existence of slavery at length caused trouble and the Southern States revolted. Earnest statesmen did what they could to prevent war.
A committee of senators from the State of Delaware, waited upon President Lincoln in 1861 to try to find some plan to avoid war. Mr. Lincoln suggested the plan adopted by Great Britain for abolishing slavery in her colonies in the West India Islands, by paying the owners $300 for each slave, and Mr. Lincoln suggested $400 in our case as the price. This was submitted to the Senate of Delaware, but was rejected by a majority of one vote.