Monday, August 5, 2013

Ellis & the 157th Ohio Volunteer Infantry - Military Monday

Ellis Bickerstaff (or Biggerstaff as his name was recorded), of Steubenville, Jefferson County, Ohio, was a member Company D of the 157th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry (157th OVI) during the Civil War.  He was one of the Hundred Days Men, enlisted for 100 days' time over the spring and summer of 1864.

According to his Civil War Service Records, Ellis entered military service on May 2, 1864, in Steubenville.  Most information about the regiment gives the mustering in date as May 15th and the location as Camp Chase, Franklin County, Ohio.  The 157th was composed of soldiers from both Jefferson and Carroll Counties, some who had enlisted in the fledgling Ohio National Guard.  The soldiers were under the command of Colonel George W. McCook.

Fort Delaware by Seth Eastman
From Camp Chase they were sent to Baltimore, Maryland, where they reported to General Lew Wallace and were put under the command of General Erastus B. Tyler.  They remained there several weeks for training and were then transferred by the U.S. War Department to Fort Delaware where the Regiment performed guard duty over the prisoners held there.

At the end of their hundred days of service, all soldiers of the 157th OVI companies except those in Company C returned to Camp Chase and were mustered out on September 2. 

Ellis served in Company D with two of his brothers.  Augustine was about nine years his senior and William N. was about two years younger.  Ellis was 24.  Other Bickerstaff/Biggerstaff men included Rezin P. and Samuel, probably cousins of the three brothers.

When I first read overviews describing the 157th Regiment of the Ohio Volunteer Infantry I honestly didn't give too much thought to exactly what Ellis's duties were.  I was just grateful that he had remained off the field and was in less danger of being killed or maimed.  Little did I know.  The next post is this series will be about Camp Delaware.

Other posts in this series
The Hundred-Days Men of the Civil War
Fort Delaware Prison and the 157th Regiment OVI in the Civil War
Coming to Terms with History - Musings on Ellis's Service in the Civil War

Civil War Index:  157th Ohio Regiment Infantry
Civil War Archive: 157th Regiment Infantry
Official Roster of the Soldiers of the State of Ohio in the War of the Rebellion, 1861-1866, Volume 9, by Ohio Roster Commission (Joseph B. Foraker, Governor, James S. Robinson, Sec'y of State and H. A. Axline, Adjutant-General), 1886
Union Garrison Units at Fort Delaware



  1. My 2G grandfather served as a guard too, but for the South.

    It sounds like we're in for a sad story coming up.

  2. Hi Nancy, in reply to yr comment on my blog re Mountain View, one of my contacts mentioned that Google Inc. is there: 1600 Amphitheatre Parkway
    Mountain View, CA 94043. But it doesn't answer my question why.

  3. Interestng! I found your post by searching the 157th Ohio as my 4th great uncle, James Hill, was the first sergeant of Company D. The same company as your relative. He was only 20 but had served in the 98th Ohio and was wounded at Perryville in Kentucky in 1862. Maybe that's why he held such a high rank at only 20. I'd love to go to Fort Delaware someday.

    1. Thanks for visiting and leaving a comment, Matt. Your ancestor James Hill must have been an outstanding young man to have become a leader at such a young age. I'm sure our ancestors knew each other.


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