A Light and Uncertain Hold: A History of the Sixty-Sixth Ohio Volunteer Infantry

A Light and Uncertain Hold: A History of the Sixty-Sixth Ohio Volunteer Infantry

A Light and Uncertain Hold: A History of the Sixty-Sixth Ohio Volunteer Infantry

A Light and Uncertain Hold: A History of the Sixty-Sixth Ohio Volunteer Infantry

Synopsis

Curiosity piqued by two poems written by his great-great-grandmother initiated David Thackery's scholarly exploration into the history of the Sixty-sixth Ohio Volunteer Infantry and the wartime history of Champaign County, Ohio, from which it was recruited.

Not only a military history, A Light and Uncertain Hold is also a penetrating and provocative social history which deals with the homefront, morale, reenlistment, and the memory and commemoration of the war. The words and stories of individual soldiers give depth and substance to the regiment's experience.

Excerpt

Once, as a boy, exploring a collection of old photographs and family heirlooms, I came upon two poems, published as broadsides. the poet was my great-great-grandmother. Her first poem recounted the pride and anxiety of a young woman as she witnessed her brother going off to fight in the war to save the Union. It was followed by the grief and resignation of her second poem, which told the story of his death in battle. the soldier was Levi Gladden, who had joined the Sixty-sixth Ohio Volunteer Infantry, a local regiment regarded by many as the premier regiment of Champaign County, Ohio. Its first battle was at Port Republic, Virginia, on June 9, 1862, and it was there that young Levi was shot in the forehead and killed.

These sentimental poems were unusual documents, and I appreciated them for their poignancy and rarity. the events they described also beckoned. As the years passed, I became curious about the circumstances surrounding Levi Gladdens death and about the regiment he had joined. Joining the staff of the Newberry Library in 1982, I began to explore the extensive Civil War holdings and discovered that the Sixtysixth Ohio, though revered in the memory of my county, was not blessed . . .

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