Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War


Just a Little Bit of History:
Interview with John Wilson, Company D, 23rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry USA(a)

Hello, John Wilson, haven't you had a "arrow Escape for the REGISTER?. I don't know. I was in several close places. Well, we want you're closest. said ther reporter.

Well, I believe that was at Winchester. I was in Company D, 23rd O.V.I., President Hayes' old regiment. Our regiment saw a good deal of hard service. At Cloyd Mountain, we lost 38 killed and wounded out of my company. I have had holes shot through my blouse several times, but I consider my Narrow Escape occurred at Winchester, July 28th, 1864. We were in line of battle 3 or 4 miles above Winchester. The rebels charged on us, and the first thing I knew my company was scattering and falling back, getting away in different directions as fast as the boys could hoof it. They all seemed to be seeking more healthy quarters. To save my self, I started too. I had fallen back, I suppose, a couple hundred yards or such as a matter, trying to get out of reach of their guns. In order to get under cover of some apple trees, I obliqued to the right. I didn't go but a short distance that way until they opened up on us with grape and canister. I had obliqued off to the right, as I said before, to try to get under the cover of the apple trees, while the dust kept flying around me powerfully. All at once I felt as if a man had struck me a terrible blow across the back. I fell to the earth, but soon scrambled to my feet, glad I wasn't killed and kept going from there. I took along a row of apple trees and ran my best, while apples rained like hail about my ears, as a result of the enemy's firing.

We kept up our retreat till we reached Bunker Hill. There we fell into line of battle again, and when the rebs came up, gave them another volley. While we were in line of battle here, a boy named Cubbage asked, "John, what make your frying pan handle stick out so straight?" I answered: "I must have caught it on an apple tree limb and bent it." But upon examining my knapsack to see what was the matter, I found grape shot imbedded in the pan. It had passed through my oil blanket and woolen blanket and bent up my frying pan until it looked like a _____ ______. I was glad it was the pan though, and not myself that was drawn up so.

Well, that was indeed interesting, added the reporter. The more I gather in these narrow escapes, the more varied and interesting they become. Thank you, John. You're welcome, sir.


(a) Having been a camp Patriotic Instructor, I know how hard it is to find interesting topics for camp meetings. Over the past year I have compiled 200 stories/bios of Civil War Veterans from Ohio. The first series is from the 1886 Ironton, Ohio REGISTER and is re-printed with the permission of Martha Kounse and Sharon M. Kouns, webowners of website. The REGISTER produced 91 articles under the heading of Narrow Escapes, (one a week for 91 weeks) by interviewing Civil War Veterans from their area. This article appeared February 3, 1887.

Submitted by:
Donald E. Darby
National Patriotic Instructor
Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War
December 2000

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