Monday, August 5, 2013

The Civil War in My Home


My wife and I have our own Civil War, of sorts.  Most of my ancestors wore the gray.  The few that she has that served during the Civil War wore blue.  Whenever I point out that I have far more ancestors that fought during the War than she did, she usually replies that it doesn't matter since her side won.  I'm sure that getting picked on doesn't bother her.  After all, she is from Missouri.  And she is a Chiefs fan.  However, three of her ancestors served in the 9th Illinois Infantry, and that is the subject of today's post.

Just as I had ancestors who came to this country on the eve of the War, so did my wife.  They came from Germany, the Rhineland to be exact.  Since she has red hair and still has a very German temperament, I have to be on my best behavior at all times.  Anyway, when the war began, Ferdinand Cornman enlisted in the original 3 month regiment that would become the 9th Illinois Infantry.  Once his original enlistment expired, he joined up again, this time bringing his brother Monroe with him.  They were assigned to Company "I".

This is where the story gets strange.  The 9th Illinois saw combat at Shiloh.  Quite a bit of combat.  Many of my ancestors also fought there.  At one point, my ancestors in the 20th Tennessee were directly facing the 9th Illinois.  My 3rd great-grandfather actually traded shots with hers!  Naturally, mine drove hers from the field.  But as she so often points out, they won the war.  A year and a half ago, we visited Shiloh together to see this spot for ourselves.  In my previous visits, I was single and so was only concerned with where my ancestors had been.  We found where this mini Civil War took place.  Think about it, if my ancestors (or hers) were better shots, one of us may not be here today.

I raided the bookstore at the park and purchased a really nice book entitled Eyewitness at the Battle of Shiloh.  While reading through it, I found the following quote on page 40.  It was given by W.J. McMurray of the 20th Tennessee.  He said the following "The Twentieth Tennessee was following the Ninth Illinois so closely that they were on a portion of them before they could form.  A little redheaded Irish boy from Company A and I captured a First Lieutenant and two privates at the second ravine."  My 3rd great grandfather was in Company A.  He was Irish born.  And he had red hair.  Talk about strange.

In 1862, the third Cornman brother, Horatio, enlisted.  He finished the war as a Sergeant.  Ferdinand, the first to answer the call to arms, was killed at Moalton, Alabama on March 21, 1864.  Monroe survived the war.  The 9th Illinois was a good unit with an excellent combat reputation.  It does make me happy to be associated with them, even though it may be by marriage.  Still, my ancestors drove hers from the field at Shiloh, regardless of the outcome of the war!

My name is Lee Hutch and I will be a dead Civil War Addict if my wife reads this post.

Photo taken by the aforementioned redhead.  Use at your own peril.