Soldiers Across the Centuries: Colonel Bill Kennedy Tells the Story of the 29th Ohio Volunteer Infantry

Colonel William H. “Bill” Kennedy presented a program about the role of the 29th Ohio Volunteer history in a recent Time Travel Tuesday program presented by the Conneaut Historical Society. Using a Power Point slides, photos, and documents, he told the story of the 29th Ohio Volunteer Infantry.

The 29th Ohio Volunteer Infantry

Radical Abolitionist Congressman Joshua R. Giddings founded the 29th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, also known as the Giddings Regiment or the Abolition Regiment. Tradition has it that he and his assistants personally chose the recruits to ascertain that each of them passionately believed in Anti-Slavery.

The regiment was organized from August 14, 1861, to March 13, 1862 and remained at Camp Giddings in Jefferson until January 1862, when following orders, it traveled to Cumberland, Maryland.

The 29th saw intense action during the Civil War. It fought at Winchester, Port Republic, Cedar Mountain, Chancellorsville, and Gettysburg. In the spring of 1864, it fought at Dug Gap, New Hope Church, Dallas, Pine Knob, and Peach Tree Creek.

The 29th followed General Sherman on his “March to the Sea”, and up through the Carolinas. When the War ended, it participated in the Grand Review and mustered out of service in Cleveland on July 13, 1865. Other sources say it mustered out at Louisville, Kentucky.

The Regimental flag is displayed at the Henderson Memorial Library in Jefferson, Ohio.

The 29th Ohio Regiment at Gettysburg

The 29th Regiment fought in the Union campaign to halt Robert E. Lee’s second invasion of the North, ending in the Battle of Gettysburg, raging from July 1 to 3, 1963. General George Meade led the Union forces against General Lee’s smaller Confederate Army. The bloodiest battle of the Civil War, an estimated fifty-one thousand Americans were killed, wounded, or captured/missing. The Union suffered an estimated twenty-three thousand losses and the Confederates suffered nearly twenty-eight thousand casualties.

On the morning of July 2, 1863, the 29th Ohio relieved the 137th New York at Culp’s Hill at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, fighting the Confederates for over two hours. A stone monument erected at Culp’s Hill on September 14, 1887, honors the 29thth Ohio Regiment.

Soldiers Across the Centuries

Amos K. Fifield, M.D.

The son of Doctor Greenleaf Fifield and his wife Laura, Amos K. Field was born on February 14, 1833, in Conneaut, Ohio. After graduating from the College of Physicians and Surgeons of New York in March 1855, Dr. Fifield practiced his profession in Conneaut. He lived there until the beginning of the Civil War.

On May 30, 1860, he married Maria S. Kellogg, daughter of Judge Abner Kellogg of Jefferson, Ohio. They had two children: Walter K. Fifield, and Catherine L. Fifield.

In 1861, Dr. Fifield joined the Army as surgeon of the 29th Regiment Ohio Volunteers and he was mustered into the United States service on August 25, 1861. He was present at its organization at Camps Giddings and Chase and left Ohio with the regiment. He fought in the first battle of Winchester where General James Shields defeated General Stonewall Jackson, and after the battle became superintendent of the Court House Hospital.

Dr. Fifield’s Court House Hospital patients were mostly wounded Confederate prisoners, and while he was amputating a soldier’s gangrenous thigh, he scratched himself with the point of his knife. The scratch became infected and for a time Dr. Fifield was in danger of losing his arm and his life. He went home to Conneaut to regain his health.

After just thirty days of recuperating with his arm still in a sling, Dr. Fifield rejoined the Army in the Shenandoah Valley to join the Union campaign to capture Richmond. He established hospitals and cared for the wounded at Port Republic and Alexandria, Virginia; Antietam, Maryland; Harper’s Ferry; Chancellorsville; Washington, D.C.; Aquia Creek, and Gettysburg.  At Gettysburg, he functioned as one of the chief operators during and after the battle, operating continuously for two days and two nights. After the Battle of Gettysburg, Dr; Fifield was ordered to New York City with a detachment of soldiers to halt the draft riots of 1863.

When the detachment returned to battle, Dr. Fifield joined the Army of the Potomac in Virginia, and then he served with General Hook’s Eleventh and Twelfth Army Corps reinforcing the Army of the Cumberland. During the winter of 1863-1864, the Doctor was in charge of the hospital at Bridgeport, Alabama with the Second Division, Twelfth Army Corps.

In 1864, at the beginning of the Atlanta campaign, Dr. Fifield was appointed Surgeon-in-Charge of the field hospital of the Second Division, Twentieth Army Corps. He remained in charge of this hospital during this campaign which historians consider one of the most lengthy and arduous campaigns of the Civil War. When his commission expired, Dr. Fifield was mustered out of the Army on August 25, 1864.

After his left the Army, Doctor Fifield resumed his medical practice in Conneaut. He died in 1882 and he is buried in City Cemetery in Conneaut.

Isaac Mills Dalrymple

On July 9, 1862, thirty eight year old Isaac Mills Dalrymple stood, gun at the ready, determined to hold his place in the line of Union soldiers fighting with the forces of General Erastus B. Tyler to advance to the Confederate capital at Richmond, Virginia.  He was one of the soldiers in Company E of the 29th Ohio Volunteer Infantry. The equally determined soldiers participating in Confederate General Stonewall Jackson’s Shenandoah campaign also waited at rifle ready to deter and hopefully prevent the Union forces from fighting their way their capital at Richmond.

In 1860, Isaac Mills Dalrymple, born on November 20, 1823 in Pomfret, Chautauqua, New York. He lived in Monroe, Ohio located in Ashtabula, Ohio with his wife Tressa,  20, and daughters Mariette, eight, and Alice, two. The 1860 census lists his occupation as “sawing.”

In the fall of September 27, 1861, he mustered into Company E of the 29th Volunteer Infantry on September 27, 1861, at age thirty-eight. He would not live to reunite with his wife and daughters. On June 19, 1862, now a Corporal, Isaac Mills Dalrymple was killed in action at Port Republic, Virginia. He was struck in the chest by a Minnie Ball.

There is no record of Isaac Mills Dalrymple in the Winchester National Cemetery. Since he died at the Port Republic battle, the custom suggests that he would have been moved to Staunton National Cemetery since Port Republic is closer to Staunton than to Winchester. Winchester National Cemetery was never used as a burial location for the Battle of Port Republic as was Staunton National Cemetery, but there is no record of Isaac being buried in Staunton National Cemetery.

Isaac may have been one of the many “unknown soldiers” buried in either cemetery. His widow Tressa filed an application for and received a pension in 1863.

Colonel William H. Kennedy

Colonel William H. Kennedy, U.S. Army Retired, of Conneaut, Ohio, served as a soldier in twentieth and twenty first century wars and peace.

Colonel Kennedy graduated from Conneaut High School in 1965 and from Bowling Green State University in 1969. Continuing his education, he earned a Master of Public Service degree from Western Kentucky University and graduated from the Armed Forces Staff College, the US Army Command & General Staff College and the Army War College.  He served for twenty-eight years in the United States Army and is a veteran of Vietnam and the Persian Gulf Wars.  He has commanded Infantry, Armor and Cavalry units in Germany, the United States and Kuwait from platoon rank through the rank of Colonel.

Colonel Kennedy has been awarded the Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster, the Bronze Star Medal with oak leaf cluster, Meritorious Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters and several other service and commendation medals, the Combat Infantryman’s Badge and the parachutist badge.

After retiring from the U.S. Army, Colonel Kennedy was the Program Manager of US Army sponsored training programs in Kuwait for deploying US Army & Marine Corps units to Kuwait and later enroute to Iraq from 1999 -2007. In 2011 he was the Project Manager North & East and Deputy Program Manager in support of the US Army in Afghanistan. Currently he is the Vice Chairman of the Conneaut Port Authority.  

Colonel Kennedy’s career spans two centuries, and his interest and empathy for Civil War soldiers illustrates the concept that soldiers transcend the barriers of time and are really a “band of brothers.”

At the end of his presentation, Bill expressed interest in starting a Civil War group and invited people to participate. Contact him for further information.

(Apologies to Bill Kennedy for being so late with the story of his presentation.  He was the first speaker in the Museum’s Time Travel Tuesdays programs and his presentation set an excellent precedent.)