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16th Ohio Volunteer Infantry Soldier's Profile
George Upton Harn
Captain, Company I
born: July 30, 1820 place: Baltimore, Maryland
father: John Harn born: March 21, 1789 place: Carroll County, Maryland died: July 2, 1852 place: Carroll County, Maryland
mother: Charlotte Hay born: July 21 or 25, 1799 place: Baltimore, Maryland died: August 3, 1867 place:
pre-war occupation: preacher/pastor place: Ohio, Illinois, Pennsylvania post-war occupation: place:
married: March 27, 1851 to: Mary Ann Bricker place: Cumberland County, Pennsylvania
wife born: March 16, 1821 place: Cumberland County, Pennsylvania died: 1901 place: Oklahoma
child: George Upton II born: April 4, 1852 place: Wooster, Ohio died: abt. 1929 place:
child: Francis Louise born: March 22, 1854 place: Ohio died: April 7, 1854 place:
child: John Joseph born: July 27, 1856 place: Ohio died: August 7, 1856 place:
child: William Fremont born: June 1, 1859 place: Wooster, Ohio died: December 15, 1944 place:
died: December 29, 1862 place: Chickasaw Bayou, near Vicksburg, Mississippi cause of death: killed in action at Battle of Chickasaw Bayou; shot in thigh
burial: Vicksburg National Cemetery (unmarked) place: Vicksburg National Cemetery
Military Career
90-day service: April 20, 1861 Private Company C place:
promoted: April 27, 1861 1st Sergeant Company C
reduced (at his request): June 27, 1861 Private Company C
discharged: August 18, 1861 mustered out with regiment Company C place: Columbus, Ohio
3-year service: December 1, 1861 Captain Company I place:
discharged: December 29, 1862 killed in action, Battle of Chickasaw Bayou, Mississippi Company I place: Chickasaw Bayou, Vicksburg, Mississippi

Additional Details

Thanks to Steve Harn Redman for his work in compiling the Harn family history and presenting it on an elaborate website and for his kind contribution to the 16th Ohio website in allowing the use of some of that information, below.

The following is an excerpt from a manuscript written by Ellen Dorcas Harn, sister of George Upton Harn, describing and documenting her family history. The excerpt is her description of Captain Harn. It includes colorful stories and letters that provide us with a more intimate knowledge of the gallant Captain, who gave his life for his country under the flag of the 16th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, as well as poignant information about the regiment itself. See the entire manuscript at Steve Redman's Harn Family Website.

Ellen Dorcas Harn was born January 18, 1829, in West Falls, Maryland and died at age 101, May 2, 1930, at Kenesaw, Nebraska.

From contributor Steve Harn Redman regarding the manuscript:

In cases where there was a question regarding a word or word's, brackets '[ ]' were used to denote the uncertainty. Obvious transpositions such as 'teh' for 'the' were corrected. Misspellings of place-names, surnames, given-names, in majority of cases were left as is. ... There had been no attempt to provide corrections or additions to the data in this manuscript. I tried to maintain the same layout appearance as the original typed manuscript (capitalization of names, paragraph headings).
Steven Harn Redman
07 July 1996

The manuscript also contains notes (annotated) from George Upton Harn II, Ms. Harn's nephew and son of Capt. Harn.

Historical Mission
Elder George U. Harn.

Elder Harn was a man of medium size, with high forehead, black hair and beard, which with his piercing black eyes gave him a striking appearance.

The Missionary Signal describes Capt. Harn as having black eyes. His eyes were dark gray. When his soul was aroused from whatever cause his eyes gave forth a piercing, straight forward, unflinching look that made them appear black. In repose they were calm, tender and confiding. He was in the advance guard of all reforms. He took strong sides with Mrs. Swisshelm both by pen and rostrum, in rectifying the legal wrongs as to woman and her property rights. In 1853, Aug. 20th. at Conteroga Center he heard the maiden address of James R. Black who afterwards was the first Presidential candidate of the Prohibition party, on the subject of temperance. He was worshipful admirer of Neal Dow and worked with him in the Main Law campaign in Pa. in 1854.

Human nature, however depraved, is prompt, not only to recognize but to admire bravery. It suffices to say that he was permitted to finish his address without further molestation.

In the organization of the Republican party in the Western Reserve he was a prominent factor. At the congressional convention which met September 7, 1858, at Lodi, Medina county, Ohio, he lacked but two votes of receiving the nomination for congress. On the thirteenth ballet, seeing that Wayne county would loose the nomination, he withdrew his name, thus giving the nomination to Gen. Cyrus Spink of Wayne. Spink having died during his incumbency Mr. Harn was a candidate for the place made vacant, We have no record of the result as the last volume of his diary that is [?]tant closes with January 23, 1859.

He was a delegate to the national convention that met in Chicago May 16, 1860, which convention nominated Abraham Lincoln for President.

For the three months campaign he was mustered into service as private in Co.,C. 16th O.V. In. April 20, 1861; appointed 1st Sergeant April 27; reduced to a private at his request June 27; mustered out with company August 18, 1861.

When about to leave Camp Jackson, Columbus, on May 21, 1861, the three months sixteenth was named "Carrington Guards" in honor of Ohio's Adjutant General. In presenting the regiment a fine stand of colors of embroidered silk, Gen. Carrington took from his [ ] a small piece of wood saying:

This splinter is a fragment of the Fort Sumter flagstaff, which Major Anderson recently gave me here in Columbus, while on his way from the surrendered fort to his home in Kentucky. I give it to the "Carrington Guards" and shall have it inserted in the top of your regimental flagstaff, so that you shall carry over your heads the sacred momento and may you never surrender it to traitors.

The regiment served about four months with a loss of one man killed and the death of two from disease. G.U.H. (II).

In this campaign he served under Rosencrans in West Virginia in and around Mannington, Fairmount, Grafton, Webster and was present at the battle of Phillippi, after which he spent the time guarding the turnpikes from Romney to Clarksburg.

(The regiment was engaged in battles of Phillippi June 3; at Laurel Hill July 8 and at Carrich's Ford, West Va., July 14, 1861. At Phillippi Private Harn made prisoner a very fat rebel major who was gorgeously attired in a very red round-about, and wore a tremendously large sword, likely a family heirloom. The sword is now is the possession of Private Harn's youngest son.--G.U.H.(II).)

On December 1, 1861, he reenlisted for three years and was elected Captain of Co. I 16th O.V.I. The roster says he was killed in battle at Chickasaw Bayou, Mississippi, December 29, 1862. He was elected captain between December 1, 1861 and December 5 of the same year but had not at the later date received his commission.

He was under marching orders from Camp Dennison, December 16 to Lousiville Kentucky and dates his next letter in Camp Clay, Lexington, Kentucky, December 26, 1861. While here he called on James B. Clay, son of Henry Clay, who lives on the old Clay homestead. Captain Harn was a worshipful admirer of Henry Clay and much to his regret found his son under a $10,000 bond, he being, it is said, a Secessionist. Leaving Camp Clay on 13th of January 62, the forces camped at Camp Cedar, near Nicholson, Jassamine county Kentucky, January 14 and on the afternoon of January 19, reached Somerset, or near there while the battle of Mill Springs eight miles distant, was in progress.

In company with several officers he visited the battle ground, of which he writes:

I also saw the body of the traitor chief Kollicoffer. He was shot by Col. Fry or Danville, Kentucky. I put my finger not into the print of nails, but into the bullet hole that let his traitorous spirit pass through his heart out into eternity

From Somerset the forces went to London, Laurel county where he and his company were detained, much too his regret, to guard supplies. While here he was asked to settle a trouble between his Col. John F. DeCourcey and a number of the subordinate officers. He spent all night interviewing and counseling the disaffected parties, and finally succeeded in adjusting difficulties.

(DeCourcey, a British subject, an officer of Her Majestys army, a veteran of the Cremean campaign, at the outbreak of our civil war offered his services to the Union cause and was commissioned colonel of the Sixteenth which became part of Gen. Geo. W. Morgans brigade. DeCourcey was a gentleman, a fine organizer and disciplinarian and able soldier, and merited promotion but the fact of alienship prevented it and automatically kept others back. Many years afterward he died when an Irish member of the House of Lords. G.U.H. (II) ).

Moved from London to Cumberland Ford and thence to Cumberland Gap and had an engagement with the Rebels March 24th., '62. With a small force engaged the enemy for two hours, May 8th. Passed through Big Creek Gap into Tennessee, the Wednesday previous to June 14th. The rebels evacuated the gap and the Union forces entered it June 18th. On a foraging expidition [sic] the brigade to which the 16th. belonged was surprised at Tazewell Tenn. Two men of company I wounded, the first disability from any cause since enlistment. Routed the five and returned to gap with abundance of hay and corn.

Left the gap Sept. 17th. and reached Greenup, O, October 3rd. Marched to Hampton, Jackson county, Ohio, thence to Gallipolis.

(The battles of this campaign was at Cumberland April 28th. and in Tazewell, Tenn. Aug. 6th., '62. It is since conceded that the evacuation of the gap was a great blunder, and the march across (Tenn. and Ky. to Ohio was an unnecessary hardship. When the troops went into camp on the Ohio side of the river they were ragged and dirty and tintless. In a few hours thereafter however, fresh supplies were issued. Capt. Harn refused a furlough to visit home because he did not want to set an example. So my mother, brother and myself visited him. Then we parted forever. G.U. Harn (II).)

Crossed the Ohio river Oct. 23rd., rested half hour at Point Pleasant, thence up to Charleston in putsuit of rebels. They fleeing returned and shipped on the "Key West" Nov. 13th. '62 for Covington, Ky. Spent Nov. 17th at Louisville, Ky, then proceeded to Memphis reaching the Mississippi river Nov,. 24th. and Memphis Nov. 26th. '62, Left Memphis Dec. 20th. '62 and reached Millikens Bend Dec. 25th., '62.

We simply give an outline of his movements with dates of important events. The results which are to voluminous for these pages, are records of history. We give however, the last letter he ever wrote. The diary he kept fell into the hands of the enemy:

Fanny Bullet, Twelve miles up the Yazoo River,
Dec. 20th., 1862.
Dear Wife -
We rounded the bar, at the mouth of the Yazoo River, about one this afternoon, and shortly after two disembarked at this point on the lower bank of the river, seven miles from Vicksburg, Va. We had on the shore but a short period, when we opened a skirmish with a set of rebel soldiers whom we compelled to retire. What their number was I am unable to say, possibly a thousand, calvary and all. Only a portion of the Sixteenth was engaged in the firing. My company was deployed as skirmishers on the extreme right of the line of the regiment, although in consequence of the detachment of Botsford and Richerson's companies from the regiment for the present, I formed the left flank company of the line of the battalion. I was thrown in that position to guard the advancing column against flanking movement of cavalry, that was feared might move between our right and the river below the landing. We advanced two miles over a densely flat timbered country, or thickly clad with cane brake. Night coming we fell back to the river, where we now lie encamped, but I write from board of steamboat. I feel much better than I did yesterday, and think I shall have good health. The weather is very warm. I slept last night with both of my state room doors open and yet I lay sweltering nearly all night. While skirmishing the woods today I Sweat profusely. I do not know that this will ever reach you, but whether or not I shall ever cherish the same fond regards for my dear wife and sons. My next I hope will record the down fall of Vicksburg.
Your dear

In the assault on the bluffs at Chickasaw Bayou, a raw Iowa regiment had been assigned a certain duty. It was commanded by an inexperienced young colonel. Early a rebel shell exploded in its midst, creating havoc and a panic from which the officers of the regiment were unable to rally and reform the line. The Sixteenth was thrown into its place. Otherwise the Ohio men, perhaps, would not have been in the engagement of Dec. 29th [1862] or at least met with the severe loss they did. On that day twelve men of the Sixteenth were killed; and about that number died within a few days, of wounds; while several were made prisoners.

The attack was a serious failure as even any person without military knowledge would foretell. Gen. Sherman was justly relieved of command within a few hours after the repulse and retreat. In his Life by Fletcher Johnson, the cause of the disaster is blamed on Grant, who was to "come up before this," whereas all now know that Sherman, with 43000 men and Porter's fleet, too far away to take part, attempted an impossibility. The approach to the Bluffs, then lined with rebel batteries, in December is an almost impassable swamp, foul bayouon two narrow, flimsy, old plantation, wooden bridges.

In his Memoirs Grant said: Seeing the ground from the opposite side of the attack afterwards, I saw the impossibility of making it successful. Further along: The expedition failed more from want of knowledge, ec.

Notwithstanding all this, the union troops in several places sealed the abrupt hill, only to be driven back by a withering fire of minies, nearly as cruel in extinction as the later fiendish explosive bullets. This glaring, inept, fruitless, needless sacrifice of 173 lives heartened the slave holders and prolonged hostilities.--G.U.H.(II).

Captain Harn wore the uniform of a private and carried a gun. He had no marks of identification on his person. Therefore, if he was interred in the Vicksburg cemetery his narrow cell is marked unknown.

The grave of Cap. Harn is unknown. His wife for years after the cessation of strife, looked forth for his home coming and kept his meals in readiness for him. Reports were rife that he was in Macon or Andersonville prison, others that he was some where in the south looking after the gathering together of property, but the following letter to the writer, from the Col. of the 16th.(). sets at rest all doubt as regards his death:

Springfield, Ohio.
Dec. 8th., 1867.

Miss Ellen Harn,
Dear Madam -
Owing to my absence from the city your letter was not taken out of the office until today. I hasten to reply, and give you what information I can concerning the death of your brother, Capt. Harn.

On the 29th. of Dec. 1862 an assault was made on the enemies works at Chickasaw Bluffs. Your brother and myself were among the wounded and taken prisoners. I was taken to a hospital in the city and your brother was placed in a field hospital in company with other wounded of my regiment. Capt. Harn was mortally wounded in the thigh, and died in about two hours after being taken to the hospital. This information was obtained by myself from persons in the same hospital, belonging to my Regiment, and personally acquainted with your brother.

The rumors afloat in reference to two men of the 16th. O.V. whom is said have recently made their escape from prison must certainly be false. Because, none of my regiment has been in the rebels hands for the last year, and I am aware of all the absentees, and from what case. It is barely possible that two men out of the 16th. regulars have been prisoners and have seen some person by that name, and have reported accordingly.

On the first of May 1863 a full exchange of officers was effected so far as to include all these that were captured at Chickasaw Bluffs and Stone River except such as were held as hostages. The names of these held such was duly published, and your brothers name not appearing in that list, puts it in my opinion beyond a doubt that he is dead.

The ways of Providence are mysterious, and for purposes all wise. Should your brother be still living to be returned to the bosom of his family, none would be more profoundly thankful to the Giver of all good than I would. You brother was a true and consistent soldier, brave and generous to a fault. I loved and admired him.

Your friend
P. Kershner

We are indebted to the late Mrs. Van Dorn, wife of Capt. W.P. Van Dorn, Co. K, 16th., for the following from Corporal, afterward Reverend George W. Synder, Company E:

Mrs. W.P. Van Dorn,
Zanesville, Ohio

Dear Madam -
I beg your pardon for so long delaying answering your letter of Nov. 8th., the more so because of the nature of your queries. I was quite well acquainted with your husband, Capt. W.P. Van Dorn, especially so during the last year of our service in the 16th. O.V.I. During that year I was commisarry sergent of the regiment and frequently [ ] close to his quarters. I saw him a few times after the close of the war and then heard no more of him. I suppose from the nature or manner of your question that he is now deceased. If so would be much pleased to have you tell me the time and place of his demise.

I will tell you what I know concerning Capt. G.U. Harn's death. He was Captain of Company I. At the charge of our troops on Chicasaw Bluffs, between Vicksburgh and the Yazoo river we had to cross a small bayou, and then over about a quarter of a mile stretch of level ground before we would reach the enemies breastwroks. It was on that stretch of ground where our forces, especially the 1yth. O.V.I. suffered such he[avy] loss. Many were wounded or slain right at the bayou, or soon after they advanced from there towards the enemy's works. We had six hundred in our regiment in company. line, and lost 312 in killed, wounded and prisoners. I was then a corporal in Co. H, Captain A.S. McClure commanded. I remained in the ranks until the regiment was cut to peices and all of our officers lost. We were forced to fall back in disorder, every sold[ier] looking out for himself. I was among the very last to fall back; but I did start back I hastened for the bayou where all of our men were running to in order to escape from the scathing fire of the enemy, and from being captured. As I reached the bayou I jumped down an embankment for shelter right amidst the explosion of shell that killed several s[oldiers] beside me. As I landed at the bottom of the embankment I recognized [Capt.] Harn lying there. I asked him if he was wounded and he replied that he was, and pointed to a bullet wound in his left leg about half way between his thigh and knee. He requested me to move him a few yards to where he would be better sheltered from the bullets. This I did. Then he requested me to undress him sufficiently to bind his leg around the wound. This I also did, and had to tie it up three different times before I could make it tight enough to suit him. He was evidently bleeding profusely inwardly. He told me twice that he was dying -- bleeding to death. I told him my name, that I belonged to Co. H, of his regiment, and was a clerk in George Plumers's dry goods store in Wooster, Ohio, at the time of my enlistment, and that I knew him before the war broke out. This statement gave him confidence in me. He then asked me to take his pocketbook and watch from his clothing and send it to his wife; Also wanted me to find a gold pen holder, a gift from Mrs. Harn, which he prized highly; and wanted to return it to her for a keepsake, I searched his pockets but could not find it. I asked him what message I should give his wife for him. He said "Tell her that I died for my country." While yet seeking for the penholder the enemy came on a charge, drawing near where we were, so that I was compelled to leave the spot, or be killed or captured, I could not adjust he clothing but hastily bade him goodbye, and ran back towards where our troops were before the charge. I waded through the bayou up to my neck, ran through a stretch of timber, fell down frequently in order to divert the enemies shots from me, until I reached a large tree in a woods behind which I secured shelter. There I found A.M. Johnson of your husbands company. After resting a few moments there I hunted for the remnant of our regiment, and found it near the spot we started from. A strong reserve force was also there, which kept the enemy from following us far. I found Lieutenant Jones of Capt. Harn's company. To him I gave the Captains watch and purse, which he, after a long delay, sent to Mrs. Harn.

The Captain was near the point of death when I left him. A soldier of our regiment, I forget his name, who was wounded and taken prisoner said he saw them bring Captain Harn on a "stretcher" to the hospital tent where he was lying, and that he asked the Captain if he was seriously wound, and faintly replied that he was. The next day he saw them take the Captain out dead. One of our officers, who was taken prisoner, said that rebel surgeon told him that the bullet glanced up the bone of the Captains leg went into the stomach, and caused internal bleeding until he died. There have been no further truthful account given of the Captains death, than this I now give you. Where he was buried no one knows. There are many thousand unknown for his great bravery as a soldier, for his uncompromising abolition views, and for his ability as a pulpit orator. I personally saw his merits in these three capacities. I trust these lines will be of some interest to you and to the Captains grandson.

Very Cordially Yours,
C.W. Snyder.

From History of Wayne County, Ohio, From The Days Of The Pioneers And First Settlers To The Present Time by Ben Douglass, Wooster, Ohio. Robert Douglass, Publisher, 1878
George Harn biography
biography of Capt. George Upton Harn
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