3 men, 3 Civil War stories of service to their country

George Hudson Sherwood, Martin Steffan and Charles A. McGlothlin each trained at Camp Butler, near Springfield, Ill., after enlistment during the Civil War. The training camp was torn down at the war’s end. Today, Camp Butler National Cemetery is all that is left of the former military training ground. Photo contributed by Heather Gibson, Springfield, Ill.

Hudson Sherwood’s grave is marked at the Washington (state) National Cemetery. Find A Grave photo.

3 men, 3 Civil War stories

of service to their country

MARY LOU MONTGOMERY

In 1899, George Hudson Sherwood was a blacksmith living in his hometown of Winchester, Sangamon County, Ill.

During the same time frame, Martin Steffan was a barber living in Memphis, Mo.

And in that same era, Charles A. McGlothlin was a farmer living in Richfield, Morton County, Kan.

Though living miles apart, the three men shared a rich history. They each served with Company G, 16th Regiment, Illinois Calvary during the Civil War. Family ties and friendship would continue to weave their lives together throughout their lifespans.

These are three men who survived the war. They weren’t generals leading the battles, or casualties. Instead, they were ordinary men who – during the most troubling episode in this nation’s history – mounted horses and played heroic roles in preserving this nation’s very existence.

On Jan. 19, 1899, a mention in the Monroe City (Mo.) Democrat newspaper makes note of the fact that Charles McGlothlin and Hudson Sherwood met at Sherwood’s home in Illinois for a reunion. The two Company G privates hadn’t seen each other in some 15 years. They had a lot of catching up to do.

In 1890, Sherwood – then 44 – had married the 25-year-old daughter of Martin Steffan, the third soldier profiled today.

Company G – in which all three men served - was organized on May 21, 1863, and this company, together with other companies of the 16th Regiment Illinois Calvary, trained at Camp Butler, near Springfield, Ill., until October 1863. The troops then moved across the south, waging battles on Confederate soil.

During the war, the regiment lost three officers and 30 enlisted men who were killed or mortally wounded. In addition, one officer and 228 enlisted men were lost to disease. Total 262. (Source, National Park Service)

McGlothlin was injured during his time of service when his horse fell upon him, sustaining injuries to his shoulder and chest. He was captured at Tunnel Hill, Ga., and held as a prisoner at the notorious Camp Andersonville for one year.

Hudson Sherwood

Height: 5-foot-3

Brown hair, black eyes, dark complexion.

Mustered in as a recruit Aug. 31, 1863.

Mustered out Aug. 19, 1865, at Nashville, Tenn.

Born in August 1846, in Scott County, Ill., George Hudson Sherwood was the son of Frank and Emma Sherwood. A blacksmith by profession, he was married in 1890, at the approximate age of 44, to Evelyn Steffan, who was born in 1865. She is the daughter of Martin Steffan of Memphis, Mo., also included in this profile.

Hudson and Evelyn Sherwood had two sons together, Roy and Keith. The family moved west.

Hudson Sherwood’s sword and musket remain in the family as heirlooms, according to information posted on Find A Grave.

Hudson died on July 24, 1914, and is buried at the Washington (state) National Cemetery.

Martin Steffan

Height: 5-foot-4

Dark hair, blue eyes, fair complexion; married.

Entered Army Dec. 3, 1862, at Quincy, Ill., age 30

Mustered in May 21, 1863.

Mustered out Aug. 19, 1865, at Nashville, Tenn.

Born in Germany, by all accounts Martin Steffan was a proud American citizen. He was naturalized in 1881.

A staunch Lincoln Republican, Steffan lent his name as a member of the “Lincoln McKinley” Club in St. Louis in October 1900, leading up to the presidential election where incumbent William McKinley was challenged by William Jennings Bryan. As a member of this club, Steffan let his intentions be known that he planned to vote for McKinley in the general election, and stated his position as a voter for Lincoln in both 1860 and 1864.

St. Louis Globe Democrat

Charles McGlothlin

Height: 5-foot-6

Brown hair, blue eyes, fair complexion, single, farmer

Born about 1845 in Greene County, Ohio.

Age 18 when entered service.

Mustered in as a recruit Oct. 8, 1863.

Mustered out May 30, 1865.

Was prisoner of war; captured at Tunnel Hill, Ga.

(Italic) Fayetteville Observer

Feb. 29, 1864

“From Georgia – Dalton, Feb. 25 – Our army is in line of battle at Tunnel Hill. A sharp engagement took place yesterday between Clayton’s brigade and the enemy, lasting half the day. Wofford’s cavalry, backed by a regiment of infantry, attacked our line and were repulsed three times. 100 Yankee saddles in the first assault were emptied.”

(End Italic)

The prison camp at Andersonville, Ga., – where Charles McGlothlin was held for a year during the Civil War - was notorious for overcrowding, unsanitary conditions, and an inadequate food and water supply for the prisoners. Approximately 13,000 Union soldiers, of the 45,000 who were held captive there, died, primarily of scurvy, diarrhea and dysentery.

Later in life, McGlothlin received a $6-per-month Civil War pension.

In civilian life, McGlothlin married Eliza Shanklin on March 29, 1877, in Sangamon County, Illinois. In 1895 they were living in Cowley County, Kan., and their children included George W., Earnest, Ardella, Jessie and Louis. Circa 1899, they moved to a farm just north of Monroe City, Mo.

“July 27, 1899, Monroe City Democrat

“Charles McGlothlin brought us the first sample of corn this season. The stalks measured 127 ½ inches long and they bore from one to two large roasting ears each, which measured 12 inches in length. He says he has 80 acres of it in that condition.” (newspapers.com)

The McGlothlins lived in the Monroe City area until the summer of 1903, when they moved to Kansas City, Mo.

While the family lived in Monroe City, daughter Ardella was a student at a business college in Quincy, Ill., and later held a job as stenographer in Kansas City, Mo.

Charles A. McGlothlin, who was born June 15, 1845 in Illinois, died Sept. 25, 1925, in Kansas City. He is buried at Forest Hill Cemetery, Kansas City, along with his wife, Eliza, 1852-1914.

Mary Lou Montgomery retired as editor of the Hannibal (Mo.) Courier-Post in 2014. She researches and writes narrative-style stories about the people who served as building blocks for this region’s foundation. Her collective works can be found at www.maryloumontgomery.com

Camp Butler, near Springfield, Ill, is illustrated during Civil War days. (The Decatur Daily Review, Decatur, Ill., Oct 23, 1932, newspapers.com)

Andersonville, Ga., hosted a prisoner of war camp during the last 14 months of the Civil War. Charles McGlothin, who later lived in Monroe City, was a prisoner there for one year. Library of Congress, south view of stockade, Aug 17 1864.

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