|No. 8 AUGUST 2003
CHESTER AND HENRY BUCKLAND, 72ND OHIO VOLUNTEER INFANTRY
Twenty-year-old Chester Buckland and his brother Henry enlisted
in the 72nd O.V.I. Their uncle Colonel Ralph P. Buckland commanded the regiment.
He had recruited the 72nd from Sandusky County, Ohio, and surrounding counties.
The Bucklands represented just one of many groups of soldiers in the 72nd who
were related by blood. The nature of Civil War recruitment, organizing regiments
from one county or adjacent towns, proved critical to soldiers and communities.
Soldiers drew strength fighting alongside family members. When ill or wounded,
soldiers could rely upon family members for help. However, families with
relatives in the same unit faced a greater potential for loss. In the same
manner, a community with the bulk of its young men in a single regiment risked
losing a large proportion of its young male population if the unit experienced
frequent or intense combat.
Chester Buckland took part in the skirmish preceding the Battle
of Shiloh. During the battle, he was wounded above the knee. Older brother Henry
wrote this letter to Stephen and Lucy Buckland of Fremont, Ohio, informing his
parents of Chester's wounds. Chester was transported by steamboat up the
Mississippi River to the Ohio, where wounded and ill soldiers were being treated
at Cincinnati. Chester died while still aboard ship. By chance, Chester's body
was discovered by Fremont, Ohio, physician Dr. L. Q. Rawson at Cincinnati.
Rawson was traveling to the battlefield to help with the wounded. He telegraphed
young Buckland's parents and then shipped the body in a metal coffin to Fremont.
Captain Henry Buckland survived the war, but died in 1869 of tuberculosis
contracted during the conflict.
Camp Shiloh Apr 10/62
Dear Mother and Father
I enclose you herewith a letter to Mother written by Chester
describing a skirmish that we had with the Rebles on the 4th instant, but I have
a far sadder tale to tell. Chester was slightly wounded above the left knee but
is doing nice and will be around in a few days. I will now proceed to describe
that portion of the battle that I was in and I pray God that I may never witness
such another scene. Shortly after getting up on Sunday morning, and before we
had been to breakfast the long roll was heard to sound, which is always a signal
to fall into line, which we immediately did, and found that the enemy were
already in force, directly in front of our camp. Capt. Raymond being sick, I had
command of the Co. It was supposed that there were only a few of the enemy
thrown out in force as skirmishers and I was ordered to take out my company and
act in the same capacity. On getting a short distance from the line. I found
that the enemy was in large numbers, and sent word back to the Col. For Gods
sake to send his whole regiment, which he immediately did together with the
balance of his Brigade. We commenced the fight and kept it up for two hours and
fifteen minutes without stopping, when we found that the enemy was too much for
us, and were ordered to fall back through our camp to what is called the Purdy
Road, by General Sherman and there make a stand, but the men had become panic
stricken, and it was found impossible to rally them at that point. So we kept up
our retreat until we came up to our forces on the left wing, and there staid
until Monday morning, when we again marched out and became engaged in the fight
again at about eleven o'clock and continued on until three PM making us under
fire of the enemy at one time four hours. This battle was the longest one that
was ever fought on the continent, and it is a great victory for our forces. You
need not feel at all uneasy about Chester. He was sent down to Savannah Sunday
and I have sent Arthur Fitch down to take care of him. I heard from him
yesterday, and is getting along first rate. I shall go down and see him as soon
as I can get away. The enemy marched through our camp and destroyed everything
nearly except our tents and did part of those. All the possessions I have in the
world (with the exception of my trunk which was stripped of everything) I have
got on my body. I had on my blouse and they got my dress coat and in fact
everything that I had worth taking.