Highlighting Isaac Spears Sanderlin's Known Activities
Compiled by Mark & Cyndi Howells - October 30, 1994 Family Group Sheet for Isaac Spears Sanderlin
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.
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.
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.
Company Descriptive Book stated he "received a wound on skirmish line at Dallas, Georgia. Sent to rear."
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."
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.]
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.
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.]
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Isaac Spears Sanderlin, Private Company I, 100th Ohio Volunteer Infantry in the Civil War
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