Wednesday, October 3, 2007

ON THIS DAY: Friday, Oct. 4, 1861

In Lynchburg, Ohio, a group of 60 enthusiastic volunteers begin drilling at “Camp Harvey,” a local warehouse donated for the purpose by Mr. Josiah Harvey. They were sworn into the service yesterday by local school teacher John W. Frazee. Beginning in late summer, the energetic Frazee had rounded up recruits, then gone to Columbus to secure a captain’s commission. The men will practice what they fondly believe are the military arts until they are ordered, in 10 days’ time, to a real military camp: Camp Dennison, near Cincinnati. There they will become part of the 48th Ohio.

Today is the 39th birthday of Rutherford B. Hayes, major of the 23rd Ohio, now serving in western Virginia. On this "warm day with clouds gathering," Hayes enjoys a birthday dinner with Brig. Gen. Robert C. Schenck, who has just taken command of Hayes' brigade. An Ohioan like Hayes, Schenck is celebrating a birthday of his own: he is 51.

Near Washington, President Lincoln watches a balloon demonstration. Thaddeus S. C. Lowe, a New Hampshire man who had long been fascinated with the idea of air travel, is the Union’s expert on balloon travel. Lowe will eventually conduct several balloon reconnaissances for Union generals, only to resign in 1863 over frustration with the army bureaucracy.

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