A soldier’s recollections
As Ohio pioneers my ancestors, George and Jane Pisor Wolfe, fresh out of Indiana County Pennsylvania and eager to homestead on their 100 acres in Athens County, had much to do. They cleared land, built a log cabin, planted and harvested a corn crop, had children, built a church and a schoolhouse and established a community. They also had to fight for their country and they did so willingly.
George and Jane Wolfe had five children. Their third child George Pisor then had 10 sons and two daughters. Of the 10 sons six of them fought in the Civil War and two died. Ken Burns would have delighted in Francis Wolfe’s letters to his family. He writes of his first real fight on May, 1862, “…. at McDowell with Stonewall Jackson but he had the advantage in possession and outnumbered us and we had to retreat a few miles when we got reinforcements and at Cedar Mountain we met him again where we had hot work for awhile but we made it so unhealthy for them they were glad to haul off for repairs. At Chancellorsville May 2 and 3 we had it a plenty, we were in the first line of battle which was nearly a mile long and guns as close together as was safe to use them. We went into action just after dinner and stayed with them until night when we ceased firing but every man was at his post for we were expecting an attack any time.
I was sitting on the ground leaning against a wheel of the gun and dozing when there came a volley of musketry from the enemy’s direction. We were on our feet in an instant as we supposed it was our pickets firing but it was not repeated and we were soon dozing again, but soon a scout came in and told us Stonewall Jackson had been shot by his own men. He was out readjusting his lines and had given orders to fire on anyone coming from our direction and in the darkness they had mistaken him for our men. This was about 10 o’clock at night. We were only about 500 yards from them. The shooting of Jackson threw them into confusion and they began their retreat before morning. It was at this fight that Irvin (Francis’ younger brother) got his ear shot off. There had been several of the boys killed by sharpshooters and I finally located them in a bushy-topped tree by the puffs of smoke from their guns. I called the Captain’s attention to it and he took out his field glasses and soon saw I was right. He told Walsingham, who was the best gunner in the battery, about it.
He shaded his eyes a minute and saw the smoke and called for a solid shot. He was a great fellow to swear and says, ‘I’ll chill their livers, the damn boogers,’ and a lot more none too nice talk. He took careful aim at the trunk of the tree and at the discharge of the gun we could plainly see the slivers flying and the tree began to topple and Rebs tumbling out, strike the ground and lay there. It looked like there were a dozen or more of them. There were many watching the shot and when they saw the result you should have heard the cheer they gave Walsingham. This put a stop to sharpshooting in that direction.” (The Wolfe Family History by Nora Wolfe Atkinson, Lawhead Press, 1964).
Sylvia Zimmerman is the owner of Fulton Creek Jersey Cheese in Richwood. She holds two graduate degrees and, when not working on her farm or pursuing her interest in sustainable agriculture, writes her own blog.