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No. 9 SEPTEMBER 2003


General Russell Hastings was born in Greenfield, Massachusetts, in 1835. With his family he moved to northern Ohio, settling on a farm near Willoughby in 1849. At the outbreak of the Civil War, Hastings was the second to enlist from Willoughby, and by ballot, was made second lieutenant of Company K of the 23rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry. While serving in the 23rd Ohio, Hastings served as Rutherford B. Hayes' aide-de-camp. He was severely wounded in the knee during the Battle of Opequan Creek (Third Battle of Winchester) on September 19, 1864.

At war's end Hastings was elected to the Ohio legislature from Lake County. President Andrew Johnson appointed him U. S. Marshal for the Northern District of Ohio in 1867. In 1872, General Hastings married Mary Adele Humphrey of Saline, Michigan. She died April 30, 1874. His second marriage was to Emily Platt, the niece of President Rutherford B. Hayes. The couple was married in a White House ceremony on June 19, 1878. They later moved to Bermuda where they built their home, "Soncy" near Saline Bay. The Hastings were the parents of three daughters.

In 1899, Hastings began writing his recollections of his Civil War service. (Russell Hastings Collection, Hayes-25). Three battle maps accompanied his Civil War memoir. At the left is Hastings' map of the Battle of Opequan Creek. Click on the map for enlargement (691 x 1080)

Battle of Opequan Creek by General Russell Hastings


Sheridan's objective was to destroy Confederate General Jubal Early's II Corps. He advanced 35,000 troops across Opequan Creek east of Winchester. The advance was slowed considerably as the troops threaded their way through a narrow canyon. The delay allowed Early time to regroup his forces. Confederate General John B. Gordon's and Robert E. Rodes' troops inflicted heavy casualties on Sheridan's XIX Corps. Sheridan saved his army by launching a counterattack with his reserve division.

Sheridan then advanced his III Corps under General George Crook. Crook marched his lone division beyond Early's left flank. The Confederates fought ferociously, but two Union cavalry divisions soon joined the fight from the north. When Sheridan's infantry renewed its attacks, the Rebels retreated. Sheridan lost 5,000 troops; Early's 12,000-man force was reduced by 3,500 men.

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