Photo of Isaac Spears Sanderlin and his wife, Margaret Mathilda Walterhouse Sanderlin

Isaac Spears Sanderlin,
Private, Company I, 100th Ohio Volunteer
Infantry in the Civil War

Isaac Spears Sanderlin and his wife, Margaret Mathilda Walterhouse Sanderlin

A Summary of the 100th Ohio Volunteer Infantry's Participation
During the American Civil War

Highlighting Isaac Spears Sanderlin's Known Activities

Compiled by Mark & Cyndi Howells - October 30, 1994

Family Group Sheet for Isaac Spears Sanderlin

Conventions used in notation: Personal information about Isaac Sanderlin, information about the 100th Ohio, and general information about the Civil War is shown in regular lettering. Remarks, speculations, and comments by the authors are shown [surrounded by square brackets].

August 11, 1862
Joined for duty and enrolled at Mark Township, Ohio for the period of 3 years. He was paid a bounty of $25. [The bounty was an enlistment bonus. This was a down payment on a total bounty of $100. He received the remainder after the completion of his 3 years of service.] His age is given as 22 years. [This is an incorrect age for Isaac, his birth date is July 18, 1833, making him 29 years old when he joined.] He is shown as a private in Company I.

In the Company Descriptive Book, [which appears to be written in 1865 after he rejoined his regiment in North Carolina] Isaac is described as having a dark complexion, blue eyes, and dark hair. He is listed as born at Wellsville, Virginia and his occupation is listed as that of a farmer. He is shown as 5' 10" tall.

The 100th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry was organized at Camp Toledo, Ohio during July, August, & September of 1862. The volunteers enlisted to serve three years. They were officially mustered in September 1, 1862.

September 1, 1862
Shown on Company Muster-in Roll listing the above enlistment information. The Roll is dated at Camp Toledo, Ohio.

September to October, 1862
Noted as "Present" on Company Muster Roll.

November to December, 1862
Noted as "Present" on Company Muster Roll.

December 11, 1862
An idea of the hardships of Army life can be had from affidavits written after the war by Samuel Luke, a musician in Isaac's Company I. Written to support Isaac's claims to a pension, Samuel describes the 100th Ohio's crossing of the Kentucky River. On December 11, 1862, while marching from Lexington to Richmond, Kentucky, the regiment waded across the river near Clay's Ferry. There was ice on both sides of the river and Samuel saw Isaac emerge from the river dripping with water and ice. Isaac later claimed that this river crossing had caused him to suffer from rheumatism, severe stiffness of joints, and sciatica after the war.

January to February ,1863
Noted as "Present" on Company Muster Roll.

March/April, 1863
Shown on Company Muster Roll as "Detailed to Hospital". Shown on Hospital Muster Roll as "Present". He was attached to the hospital March 18, 1863. He was employed as a cook. "Remarks: Whole number of days extra duty forty four (44)". [This extra duty might have been a result of Isaac being disciplined for some infraction of Army regulations.]

Hospitals in the Civil War
To care for both the sick and the wounded, regiments established hospitals (or combined with other regiments to form brigade or division hospitals). These hospitals were usually run by the regimental surgeon and his assistants. While campaigning, these hospitals were usually set up in any building available near the battlefields, usually farm houses or barns. If no buildings were available, open air tents would be used. While the surgeons and assistant surgeons were medical doctors, other hospital staff did not have any medical training. Nursing was in its infancy, relying on male nurses who had no medical experience. Other hospital staff such as ambulance drivers and cooks were regular soldiers assigned to hospital duty.

In the Civil War, two soldiers died of disease for every one killed in battle. Scurvy, dysentery, typhoid, diphtheria, and pneumonia were common. Farm boys, crowded together in camps with other men for the first time in their lives, were especially susceptible to every sort of ailment. There were epidemics of measles, mumps, and other childhood diseases. Hospitals were a dangerous place due to these diseases even for healthy men working there. A Union soldier said "If a fellow has to go to the hospital, you might as well say good-bye to him."

Amputation was the primary surgical method of the time. Eight out of ten amputees did not survive their operations. They usually died of shock or of infection. Chloroform or ether were used as anesthetics but there was no attempt at maintaining sterile conditions. Wounds routinely became infected. Surgeons would wipe their scalpels and saws off on their aprons between surgeries. Wiping down operating tables or using saw dust on the floors was an attempt to absorb blood to keep things from being slippery rather than an attempt at cleanliness. The idea of germs spreading in an unsterile environment was unknown. Anti-biotics to fight infection did not exist.

Medical knowledge at that time was only beginning to understand the role nutrition that plays in proper health care. The need for fresh vegetables to help prevent scurvy was known, but fresh food was rarely available. Patients in the hospitals were fed the same food as other troops.

A report of Surgeon Charles Frink, the doctor in charge of the divisional hospital of the 3rd Division, 23rd Army Corps [which included the 100th Ohio] is of great interest in shedding light on what the hospital Isaac worked in would have been like. The report is dated September 10, 1864. Surgeon Frink is the officer who signed Isaac's Casualty Sheet when he was wounded (see June 11, 1864 below). [This is probably the same hospital unit where Isaac was first treated for his wound. It is also probably the hospital in which Isaac worked as a cook.] Surgeon Frink stated that the hospital was a receiving and forwarding hospital. The hospital had been constantly on the move due to the nature of Sherman's campaign against Atlanta. He complained about the lack of fresh vegetables and the poor quality of the fresh beef and noted the diseases this caused among the troops. These diseases improved as fresh berries and fruit became available as the seasons changed. Surgeon Frink went on to describe the typhoid fever and malaria effecting the troops. He noted the success of using quinine to treat malaria but his description of malaria's cause shows the primitive state of medical knowledge at the time. "Early in June, I discovered evident signs of malarial poisoning of the atmosphere." It was not yet known that mosquitoes carried malaria and Surgeon Frink was echoing the medical knowledge of the day when he discovered the atmosphere "poisoned" by malaria. It was thought malaria was caused by bad air or by swamp gases. Finally, Frink noted the low number of deaths in the hospital following surgeries. He said that of the amputations performed from June 17 to September 10, 1864, only three died, one having become infected with gangrene.

April 10, 1863
Shown as "Present" on Special Muster Roll.

May/June 1863
Company Muster Roll showed "Remarks: Detailed Hospital Nurse." Hospital Muster Roll shows him employed as a cook with "Whole number days extra duty sixty one (61)."

June 30, 1863 to February, 1864
Three Company Muster Roll showed him "Detailed Hospital Nurse". The January/February Company Muster Roll specified that the hospital is the Regimental Hospital.

March/April 1864
Noted "Present" on Company Muster Roll. No note of hospital detail. Owed the government 44¢ for a canteen. [It appears that in March, 1864, Isaac's duty as a hospital cook ended and he returned to serving as a regular soldier in Company I.]

Sherman's Atlanta Campaign
Lieutenant General U.S. Grant's overall strategy for ending the war included unleashing Major General William Tecumseh Sherman into the heart of the Confederacy. Starting from Chattanooga, Tennessee on May 6, 1864, Sherman's first goal was to take the city of Atlanta, Georgia - the South's second most important manufacturing center. With him were over 110,000 men and 254 cannon. Sherman's army was organized into three separate armies, each named after a river: The Army of the Tennessee under Major General McPherson, the Army of the Cumberland under Major General Thomas, and the Army of the Ohio under Major General Schofield.

The 100th Ohio was in the 1st Brigade of the 3rd Division of the Army of the Ohio. The Army of the Ohio was also known as the 23rd Army Corps. Sherman's general plan of attack was to march down the Western & Atlantic Railroad line which ran south from Chattanooga to Atlanta. Opposing him was Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston who had 45,000 men and 138 cannon. Sherman's second goal was to bring Johnston to battle and destroy this western army of the Confederacy.

While outnumbered, Johnston had the terrain in his favor because the railroad followed a path through several narrow gaps which were easily defended from frontal assaults. Rather than oblige Johnston with a head-on attack, Sherman's tactics were to flank each of these gaps by sending parts of his army around their sides. Sherman used the Armies of the Tennessee, Cumberland, and Ohio independently for these flanking maneuvers - usually keeping one engaged on Johnston's front to try and keep him in place while the other two worked around Johnston's flanks in an attempt to encircle and annihilate him. This maneuver forced Johnston to retreat back down the railroad line to protect the Confederate army's supply line back to Atlanta. With every forward movement, Sherman's troops were able to make use of the same railroad to keep their supplies coming in from Chattanooga.

The first of these maneuvers occurred against Rocky Face Ridge northwest of Dalton on May 7-9, 1864. Isaac Sanderlin is listed in his Company Descriptive Book as having fought with the 100th Ohio at Rocky Face Ridge. Johnston was dug in along the railroad on Rocky Face Ridge with Thomas attacking their front while McPherson worked their left side to the south of them in an attempt to cut them off from the Western & Atlantic. Schofield was marching down the railroad line from Knoxville, Tennessee to come up against the Confederate's right. The 100th Ohio was part of Schofield's advance into Varnell Station on May 8. Along with Thomas, Schofield's Army of the Ohio was supposed to keep Johnston busy on his center and right while McPherson flanked his left. Unfortunately, Johnston discovered McPherson's move and retreated south thus avoiding encirclement. Rocky Face Ridge was a minor engagement.

Johnston slipped away to Resaca further down the Western & Atlantic where he again halted and where Sherman proceeded to engage in the same flanking maneuvers on May 13-16. Isaac Sanderlin is listed in his Company Descriptive Book as having fought with the 100th Ohio at Resaca. This dance step continued to be a series of minor engagements south through Cassville until Johnston took up position outside of Allatoona.

At this juncture, Sherman changed his tactics and marched his three armies away from the railroad to outflank Johnston on his left by crossing Pumpkin Vine Creek and pushing against Johnston's left near the town of Dallas, Georgia. The 100th Ohio passed through Burnt Hickory during this movement. Sherman suffered a sharp check when his troops ran into well-prepared Confederate positions near the New Hope Church. The two sides dug in for some heavy fighting from May 27 to June 4 when Johnston retreated eastward in order to consolidate his lines of defense. The 100th Ohio moved forward to occupy the positions previously held by the Confederates.

Johnston now held a line from Lost Mountain, through Gilgal Church to Pine Mountain, across the Western & Atlantic to Brush Mountain. Here the two sides entrenched and engaged in skirmishing from June 4 to June 14. Schofield's Army of the Ohio was in position against Johnston's line opposite Lost Mountain and Gilgal Church. It was in this area, a few miles from Dallas, Georgia where Isaac was wounded on June 11, 1864. The 100th Ohio's Brigade Commander wrote: "June 11, 12, 13, and 14, remained in this position, having thrown up works. While in this position our skirmish line was constantly engaged with the enemy - some few men wounded."

The Atlanta Campaign ended near Dallas, Georgia for Private Isaac Sanderlin. However, Sherman did eventually take Atlanta. The 100th Ohio [minus Isaac] took part in a major battle at Kennesaw Mountain outside of Atlanta on June 27. Finally, on September 1, 1864, the Confederates evacuated Atlanta.

June 11, 1864
From the May/June 1864 Company Muster Roll, Isaac is noted "Absent". He still owed 44¢ on that canteen. Remarks section of this Muster Roll noted that he was "Wounded on skirmish line. Sent to rear."

Company Descriptive Book stated he "received a wound on skirmish line at Dallas, Georgia. Sent to rear."

June 19, 1864
From a Transcript of records in the Surgeon General's Office dated June 5, 1875: "Admitted to No. 2 General Hospital, Chattanooga, Tennessee from the field for treatment for a G.S. [gun shot] flesh wound right side rec'd at Allatoona Mt. June 15, 1864." [There is much inconsistency in what date Isaac was shot. The majority of records say it was June 11, 1864 and this is most likely the correct date. The location of Isaac's wounding is usually given as Dallas, Georgia which is near Lost Mountain, another location given for his wounding. Allatoona is considerably north of both Dallas and Lost Mountain and is probably incorrect.]

June 22, 1864
Admitted to No. 8 GH [General Hospital], Nashville, Tennessee. He came in from Chattanooga with a diagnosis of "G.S. Wd. abdomen slight". Isaac's Post Office address is listed as "Nepoleon [Napoleon], Henry Co., Ohio. Nearest relation is wife Margaret W. Sanderlin". He was in hospital bed number 26.

A Casualty Sheet dated July 27, 1878 [for pension purposes] states the nature of the casualty as "Wounded (Ball) Abdominal parietes, Flesh." Noted "Received at Field Hospital, 3rd Division, 23rd Corps from June 30, 1864 to July 14, 1864."

June 27, 1864
From a Transcript of records in the Surgeon General's Office dated June 5, 1875: "Entered G.H. Murfreesboro, Tenn. with gun shot flesh wound wall abdomen, rec'd at Lost Mt. June 15, '64 and was returned to duty Aug. 30, 1864." [This record of his return to duty in August of 1864 is inconsistent with Company Muster Rolls which show him absent until after December, 1864.]

Isaac's Wound
From his pension records, Isaac's gun shot wound was described as leaving a scar 3 inches long and ½ inch wide. It was located 1 inch below his ribs on his right side. The ball apparently lodged in the muscle of the abdominal wall. Isaac was reportedly not able to perform any heavy duties for nearly nine months after his wounding. After the War, the wound was the cause of a rupture or oblique inguinal hernia on Isaac's right side, slightly below his scar. He wore a truss to ease the rupture. As late as 1870, six years after being shot, Isaac's wound was still subject to swelling and inflammation.

Civil War Musket Balls
The standard weapon of the Civil War was a percussion cap, rifled musket firing a black powder charge. It threw a .58-caliber soft lead bullet at a very low muzzle velocity. These bullets were an inch long and weighed about one ounce. This bullet had been invented by a Frenchman named Minié and were known as Minié balls even though they were bullets and not round like older musket balls. Isaac was wounded by a Minié ball. Rifles using these bullets could kill up to a distance of a half mile and were extremely accurate at 250 yards - five times further than any other hand-held weapon of the period. The low velocity, accuracy, and soft lead composition of the Minié balls made them deadly. If a bone were hit by one, it was almost always shattered into splinters and required amputation. [Isaac appears to have been extremely lucky!]

July to December 31, 1864
Company Muster Rolls showed Isaac was wounded June 11, 1864. He is listed as "Absent Wounded". He still owed 44¢.

Shown as present on Muster Roll at Fortress Rosecrans, Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Noted as in Company A, 1st Battalion, Convalescents of Fortress Rosecrans. "Remarks: Transferred from hospital at Murfreesboro, Tennessee." A printed note on the Muster Roll notes: "This battalion was organized from convalescents at Fortress Rosecrans, at its members were forwarded, from time to time, to their respective commands. [General Rosecrans was the Union general in charge of this sector of the war prior to being relieved by U.S. Grant.]

The 100th Ohio in Tennessee and North Carolina
While Isaac was convalescing from his wound, the 100th Ohio moved forward onto Atlanta and helped General Sherman capture that city. Once Atlanta had been lost to the Confederacy, Confederate General John Bell Hood (Johnston had been replaced due to his failures against Sherman) attempted to draw Sherman away from the rest of Georgia by attacking north into Tennessee rather than attacking Sherman's army directly. The Army of the Ohio was moved north to meet Hood's offensive. As part of Schofield's Army of the Ohio, the 100th Ohio fought in the battles of Columbia, Tennessee and Franklin, Tennessee at the end of November, 1864. They also participated in the defense of Nashville, Tennessee on December 15, 1864 where Hood's attack was repulsed. [Isaac Sanderlin was still convalescing during these three battles and did not participate in them.] Hood's attempt to lure the rest of Sherman's army away from Georgia failed. Sherman made his famous march through Georgia to the sea, arriving on the Atlantic coast at Savannah, Georgia by Christmas, 1864.

After Sherman's march to the sea, the Army of the Ohio, including the 100th Ohio, was moved out of Nashville in mid-January, 1865. They were moved by boat and railroad to outside Washington, D.C. where they were put on transports for a trip down the Atlantic Coast. Their objective was Wilmington, North Carolina.

Sherman had moved north from Savannah, Georgia, through South Carolina, and into North Carolina, leaving a path of destruction dozens of miles wide. Sherman's army was headed north to link up with General Grant who was besieging General Lee outside Richmond, Virginia, the Confederate capital. Sherman and Grant's combined forces would easily be able to overwhelm Lee and end the war. Schofield's Army of the Ohio [minus the wounded Isaac], was to capture Wilmington, North Carolina and link up with Sherman's northward marching army at Goldsboro, North Carolina. Wilmington was the last open Confederate port city on the Atlantic coast and was an important point of supply for the beleaguered Confederacy. The Army of the Ohio was landed at Fort Fisher, North Carolina. They marched north, with the 100th Ohio participating in the battles of Town Creek, North Carolina on February 20, 1865 and helping to capture Wilmington in the battle there on February 22, 1865. Schofield fought his way to Goldsboro, North Carolina by March 21, 1865. Sherman's army linked up with Schofield's on March 23, 1865. Isaac Sanderlin is recorded to have rejoined his unit at Goldsboro, North Carolina according to his Company Descriptive Book. [Since Isaac rejoined the 100th Ohio at Goldsboro and they had not taken Goldsboro until March 21, 1865, it can be assumed that Isaac did not rejoin his regiment until after that date. It is probable that Isaac missed the battles of Town Creek and Wilmington. It is most likely that Isaac followed the same route as the Army of the Ohio from Tennessee in order to rejoin them. He was probably shipped by boat and rail to Washington, D.C. and then by ship down to North Carolina. While his actual route is not recorded, this is the most likely way since the Confederacy still controlled the direct land route from Tennessee to North Carolina and since Sherman did not leave occupation troops behind him in his march from Atlanta to North Carolina.]

Sherman's combined armies pressed north to Raleigh, North Carolina and were fighting north of there when the war ended.

December 31, 1864 to April 30, 1865
Company Muster Roll showed Isaac "Present" However, a January/February, 1865 Company Muster Roll showed him absent sick. [Since the 100th Ohio did not enter Goldsboro until March 21, 1865, the Company Muster Roll for December to April must be incorrect for the months of January, February, and most of March, 1865.]

April 9, 1865
General Lee surrendered to General Grant at Appomattox Court House, Virginia. The American Civil War is officially ended.

April 26, 1865
Fighting ended in North Carolina when General Johnston (re-instated to defend the Carolinas) surrendered to General Sherman.

June 20, 1865
Company Muster-out Roll dated at Greensboro, North Carolina showed him as mustered out. He had been last paid February 29, 1864 and had last settled his account November 29, 1864, having drawn $21.31 since then. [Apparently, the matter of the 44¢ canteen had been resolved!] He was due the remainder of his $100 dollar bounty which was $75 dollars.

The entire 100th Ohio was mustered out of service on this day at Greensboro, North Carolina. They did not serve their entire term, but were demobilized two months and ten days early. [Once demobilized, the soldiers were usually given money for passage back to their home states. It can be assumed that Isaac returned from North Carolina to Ohio shortly after being mustered out.]

Sources:

Military & Pension Records for Union Civil War Veterans  How To Order Military & Pension Records for Union Civil War Veterans from the National Archives

Cyndi's Family Tree Return to Cyndi's Family Tree

Isaac Spears Sanderlin, Private Company I, 100th Ohio Volunteer Infantry in the Civil War
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