Military Monday: Samuel Taylor Beerbower’s Civil War Service



Samuel T. Beerbower, from "The Story of Sherman's Brigade" page 637.
Samuel T. Beerbower, c. 1864?,  from “The Story of Sherman’s Brigade,”           page 637.


➡  Helbling, Beerbower Families

Today marks the 154th anniversary of the beginning of the Civil War. We had thought to list all those of our ancestors who fought in the war, but that would be a long list. It would also ignore the sacrifices of those who stayed behind, whose land was destroyed yet consecrated by the blood of both sides, and those who dealt with the physical and psychological aftermath throughout their lives- not just the soldiers, but the family, friends, and community.The Civil War changed us as a nation, and changed us as a people. It would be impossible to tell all these stories, so instead, we will tell a story of Samuel T. Beerbower.


The oldest (surviving) son of Eleazer John and Matilda McKelvey Beerbower was Samuel Taylor Beerbower, born on 10 November 1842 in Fairfield County, Ohio. He was the brother of our ancestor, Edgar Peter Beerbower, who married Anna Missouri Springsteen. So he would be an uncle with a variable number of ‘great'(s) before, depending on the generation of our dear reader.

Sam turned eighteen just four days after Abraham Lincoln was elected President of the United States in November, 1860. Southern states began to secede from the Union within six weeks of Lincoln’s election. Lincoln was not inaugurated until March 4, 1861, and the South made good on their promise if Lincoln became President- the first shots were fired at Fort Sumter, South Carolina, on April 12th, officially beginning the hostilities of the rebellion. Three days after the loss of Fort Sumter to the Confederate States, Lincoln called for 75,000 militiamen to protect the Union. In a special congressional session on July 4, 1861, President Lincoln told Congress the Union was in, “…a struggle for maintaining in the world, that form, and substance of government, whose leading object is, to elevate the condition of men…” Congress recognized the gravity of this struggle, and instead of 75,000 men, the number authorized was over six times the request- 500,000 men.

The call to arms to preserve the union of the United States was surely felt strongly by Samuel, his friends, and neighbors. The Union loss at First Bull Run on July 21, 1861 likely fueled the fires of a young man’s passion to go off to war and Samuel enlisted in the Sixty-Fourth Regiment, Ohio Volunteer Infantry, Company B, on 23 Oct 1861, in Mansfield, Ohio. Sam was promoted to Sergeant just one month after enlisting, on 18 November 1861. His unit became a part of the Army of the Cumberland, and the battles in which he fought included Perryville, Stone River, Chattanooga, Chickamauga, and Mission Ridge.

Samuel was promoted to First Sergeant on 02 Aug 1862. The company had been on duty along the Memphis and Charleston Railroad and then marched to Louisville, Kentucky in pursuit of Bragg.

The Battle of Mission Ridge near Chattanooga, Tennessee on 25 November 1863 was a brutal battle. Union troops took the first row of rifles in the valley fairly easily, but then had to go up the mountain to get to the next line, and they were easy targets for the Confederates from above. As Samuel’s company was storming the ridge, he took a minnie ball to the right shoulder; it passed out near his shoulder blade, just to the right of the spine. (Only a short bit to the left and most of his body would have been paralyzed for life.) Samuel spent  three months confined in the hospitals of Chattanooga and Nashville to recuperate. Although he had avoided almost total paralysis, he did suffer from paralysis of his right arm and right hand.

 “In January of 1864, the subject of reenlistment coming up, three fourths of the men expressed a willingness to re-enlist…”

and Sam’s company was furloughed home for 30 days. Sam was not one of those interested in continuing in the Army, due to his wound and paralysis.

Samuel T. Beerbower was promoted to First Sergeant, and then was honorably discharged 23 March 1864 from Nashville, Tennessee, on a Surgeon’s Certificate of Disability. He returned to Marion, Ohio, and filed for a disability pension right away, on 08 April 1864. He may have been out of the fray, however the Civil War always stayed with him, as it did for all those who survived such a horrible war.


More to come about Sam’s life after the War.


Notes, Sources, and References: 

1) “The U.S. Civil War 1861-1865” on “The History Place” at

2) 1860 US Federal Census, E J Beerbower, head of household: Year: 1860; Census Place: Marion, Marion, Ohio; Roll: M653_1006; Page: 326; Image: 123; Family History Library Film: 805006.

3) The Story of the Sherman Brigade. The camp, the bivouac, the battle; and how “the boys” lived and died during four years of active field service., by Wilbur F. Hinman, published by the author, 1897. This book is about the Ohio regiments mustered together by Col. John Sherman, not William Tecumseh Sherman, though they did assist in his march through the south. The book is a very interesting read as it contains so many details that regimental histories do not- truly, much of the day-to-day life as the author was a Lt. Col. in the Ohio 65th Regiment, and was there.


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