Corporal George P. Jarvis, 3rd Ohio Volunteers, Civil War Archive
Lot of 30 Civil War-era letters from George P. Jarvis to various family members, ca early 1861-1865, accompanied by a CDV of Jarvis, by J. Beverly & Son, Fredrick, MD, and several pre-and post-war letters, including correspondence from a friend, L.G. Lyon.
George Perry Jarvis joined Company C of the 3rd Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry as a private on May 4, 1861. At the time he was 18 years old and had just finished his secondary education. Born in Pittsfield, MA, in 1853, Jarvis and his family relocated to Rome, Athens County, OH, where his father was a merchant during a boom of coal mining and salt making in that area.
Jarvis spent four years in the Union Army in two Ohio infantry regiments: the 3rd and 18th. While serving in the 3rd Ohio, he was wounded at the Battle of Perrysville, KY. Jarvis spent a significant part of his enlistment in the Quarter Masters function of the unit. After the 3rd Ohio mustered out in June 1864, Jarvis re-enlisted into Company E of the 18th Ohio Infantry as a QM sergeant and was commissioned as a 2nd lieutenant in September 1865. He mustered out of the service in October 1865.
After returning to civilian life, he married Roxavilla Beebe in 1873 and had three children. Like his father, Jarvis became a merchant and lived in rural Southeastern, OH, for much of the remainder of his life. He died in 1920 and is buried in Parkersburg Memorial Gardens in West Virginia.
The 3rd Regiment, Ohio Volunteer Infantry served in the Western Theater, operating principally in West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, and Georgia. Initially the regiment was a three-month enlistment organized at Camp Jackson in Columbus, OH, in April 1861 under Col. Isaac Morrow. It moved to newly constructed Camp Dennison near Cincinnati and served on garrison duty there until June. The 3rd Ohio was reorganized as a three-years' regiment with the same numerical designation utilizing men who elected to join for three-years.
The 3rd Ohio saw action in the West Virginia Campaign, the occupation of Nashville and Murfreesboro, TN, in the pursuit of Braxton Bragg into Kentucky, the Battle of Perryville, the Battle of Stone's River and Streight's Raid to Rome, GA. The regiment was captured by Nathan Bedford Forrest at Rome, GA, and was exchanged in May 1863. Afterward it was involved in quelling the Holmes County Ohio Rebellion, the pursuit of John Hunt Morgan and in garrison duty at Chattanooga, TN. It was ordered to Camp Dennison, OH, June 9, 1864, and mustered out June 23. The 3rd Ohio lost a total of 172 officers and enlisted men.
The 18th Ohio was originally organized to serve three months, then three years under Col. Timothy R. Stanley in 1861. It was re-organized in the fall of 1864, under Col. C.H. Grosvenor. The reconstituted 18th Ohio saw action at the Battle of Nashville, the Pursuit of John Bell Hood to the Tennessee River, and at Chattanooga. The unit was mustered out in October 1865 at Columbus, OH.
The letters offered in this archive trace the growth and maturation of George Jarvis as he served with the Ohio 3rd and 18th Infantries through the course of the war. He was wildly optimistic in March 1862: I think we will soon close this thing up [the war] now. We have been playing soldier long enough and there seems to be a determination manifested in the trust of the executives the war as soon as possible. By May he had become more disillusioned: I think that we will be licked like the devil at Corinth and the war will be [set back] about one year. By July his letters were focusing on army life and events: The men this division are extremely angry with the War Department for taking General [Ormsby] Mitchell away from them and putting [General Don Carlos] Buell in charge…Buell seems to be making it his business to tear down everything that Mitchell built up- and is disliked as fervently as Mitchell was beloved. By December 1863 he had become a good deal more settled and wrote to his father: …since I have become of age I have had altogether different views respecting life. Probably I have looked at the matter in an altogether different light. I have had more ambition and greater aims than I ever did before.
Jarvis had the opportunity to deal with some notable figures during his service. In August 1862 he was sending a letter home with Captain Mitchell [John G. Mitchell-later to become Brigadier General]…who may mail it to you…or give it to you in person. He even bumped into General Dan Sickles in 1864, I saw General Sickles a few days since. He is a fine looking man [even] if he has but one leg.
Jarvis continued to write home with a much more positive view of life up to the time of his discharge in October 1865.