Wednesday, December 15, 2010


On January 16th,1863, Charles Milton Adams received a surgeon's discharge and returned home to Jerome Township in Union County Ohio. I am going to search the National Archive for a copy of that discharge. We know from his letters that he had a nagging wrist injury from early in his army career, and later he injured his leg during or after the 2nd Battle of Corinth.
The Civil War took it's toll on many soldiers and C.M.A. was no exception. The War in the western theater was particularly hard on man and beast. When the Confederate army occupied Corinth, of the 80,000 men there, 35,000 were on the sick lists.* Most suffered dysentery and malnutrition, with both armies relying on foraging to supplement rations in Tennessee and Mississippi. This leads to long term damage to even the most healthy among us. Marching between Pittsburgh Landing and Corinth to Iuka and back to Corinth in poor shoes and bad weather did not help either. Campaigning in the south during summer carried oppressive heat, mosquitoes, malaria, and various other discomforts, particularly lack of good drinking water.
So why did he leave? C.M.A. served a little over one year and talked of getting out some months before he actually did. When the 13th ohio was disbanded his rank was reduced from Corporal to Private. The fact that he had not been paid for six months may have played a role. The hope that his old company would be resurrected was dashed. Many volunteers served in units that came from the same county or town and were friends and family, he never was fully comfortable being transferred to the 10th Ohio Battery. He had a loving wife and four children at home on the family farm which he was struggling to keep. After C.M.A. had "Seen the Elephant" he may simply have had enough. Within eighteen months he was back in uniform serving in the 174th Ohio Infantry.

*The Darkest days of the War pg.32 by Peter Cozzens

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