Portsmouth’s Company H Magnificent Send-off

“It was just three minutes of eleven o’clock when Conductor George Motz, of the N & W passenger No. 33, mounted a baggage truck at the passenger depot this morning and waved his arms for the engineer to pull out.”

“‘Pull ahead slow,’ shouted the conductor, and the engineer waved his hand in assent, as he slowly opened the throttle, and the train bearing the members of Company H, Fourteenth Regiment, O.N.G., began slowly to move in the direction of Columbus.”

“The boys were mostly in the rear coach of the seven that composed the train and their heads and hands were all out of the windows, nodding good-byes and shaking hands outstretched by eager friends.”

“As the train slowly gained headway, a series of cheers burst forth from the immense throng congregated about the depot, a wild chorus of good-byes and ‘Good Lucks’ were heard and it was almost over. Almost, not quite. Captain Pritchard, the soldierly young commander of Company H, had climbed on top of the rear coach. He could be seen as the train gained headway waving his hat in farewell to this friends and to the friends and loved ones of these brave boys who will march to war under his charge. Then the train steamed out of sight and the crowd slowly dispersed. It was all over for the present. Company H, one hundred strong, the flower of the young manhood of the city of Portsmouth, had gone forth to do battle for the cause of freedom.”

“The scenes attending the departure of Company H will linger long in the memory of all in this vicinity. It seemed that everybody in the town and the surrounding country had gathered on the streets to give the company a magnificent send-off. And magnificent it was, too, for there certainly never was another demonstration of any kind in Portsmouth equal to that one this morning.”

“The people were astir with the first gray streaks of the dawn and the early birds, in holiday attire, were on the streets walking up and down by seven o’clock. Their numbers increased as the minutes passed, and by nine o’clock Second and Chillicothe streets were almost impassable, for the dense masses of humanity that surged back and forth. The crowd was densest about the armory building, corner of Fifth and Chillicothe streets. Here the crowd lined up early and waited patiently for the hour to come when the company should leave the armory and start out for the short march throughout the city. It was a good-natured crowd, but there were many serious faces there that told of a brother or other near relative in the ranks of the company soon to leave for the front. Occasionally some member of Company H would speed from the armory on an errand and he would be cheered as he elbowed his way through the crowd.”

Excerpt of the Portsmouth 1892 Sanborn Fire Map illustrating the Company H Armory at the Northwest Corner of 5th & Chillicothe Street.1

“A few minutes after 9 o’clock the music of a band was heard down Chillicothe street. It was the River City band, and they headed the detachment of the old boys of ’61, members of Bailey Post, remnants of that grand army of blue coats who battled in freedom’s cause long years ago. It was fitting that they should escort the company to the train. The Bailey Post contingent, headed by Post Captain Creed Milstead, marched up Chillicothe street to Fifth and west on Fifth to Washington and then halted. There was almost two hundred of the old veterans in line and they were cheered and cheered as they marched by. One of the members of the Post carried the old battle flag of a Portsmouth regiment. It was all tattered and torn by shot and shell, but it spoke volumes of the boys who had followed it on many a bloody battlefield. Small wonder that there was a wild cheering, and that many a head was reverently uncovered as the old flag was carried by.”

“After Bailey Post had passed out Fifth street, the River City band took up a position on the square and played patriotic tunes, as also did the Portsmouth Brass band.”

“About 9:20 Captain Prichard poked his head out of the armory hall and called to Director Kah, of the River City band, and directed him to go down Fifth street. This was the signal that the company would soon leave the armory, and the crowd rushed forward toward the armory stairway. It was just 9:20 when the company came down from their hall, two by two, and formed on the sidewalk. They were greeted with cheers, while hands were outstretched to bid them good-bye. Each of the company had a bouquet of flowers , while little flower rosettes were fastened to their guns. They presented a fine appearance as they marched down Fifth street to Market. On Market street the parade proper was formed, and the march taken up in the following order.”

“First, ahead of all came Second Lieutenant James Smith, opening the way. Following him came W.D. Clark on horseback, carrying a large Cuban flag. Then came Marshal Schmitt and the city police force, followed by the River City band. Members of the Uniformed Rank K of P, under command of Colonel Reinhardt, followed the band.”

WD Clark carrying the Cuban flag ahead of the Company H departure procession as it travels east on 2nd Street.

“Immediately following the K of P’s came Company H, almost one hundred strong, four abreast, Captain Prichard in the lead. A wagon carrying the company’s chests and other equipment followed close, and then came the Portsmouth Brass band. A number of citizens were next in line, and then came the Excelsior band. Following the band came the Bailey Post drum corps, heading the old veterans. Midway in the ranks of the G.A.R. was the Lincoln Brass band. There were over a thousand altogether in the line of march. The parade moved up Second to Chillicothe, up Chillicothe to Gallia, east on Gallia to North Waller, north on Waller to Ninth, west on Ninth to Chillicothe and north on Chillicothe to the N & W depot.”

“On the Upper Market square Company H formed in a half-circle, with those in the front rank kneeling, and Photographer Willis took a picture of the company. These will be sold for 50 cents and half of the proceeds go to the company.”

“At the corner of Ninth and Chillicothe Company H halted and opened ranks while the members of Bailey Post marched through with bared heads. This little act of respect was loudly cheered.”

The company arrived at the N & W depot just at train time, but fortunately the train was twenty minutes late, caused by taking on members of Company I at Ironton. When the train steamed into the passenger depot at 10:40 it was greeted by a vast sea of faces. The crowd was simply enormous and every available inch of ground in sight of the depot was occupied. Company I of Ironton, was cheered, as they piled out of the coaches to see the crowd. The Company was quickly loaded on the train and it pulled out, and Company H had gone to the war.”

Image from a Lorberg scrapbook showing the “sea of faces” at the N & W depot the day of Company H’s departure. 2

“The town was a perfect mass of flags and bunting all day. Everybody who owned a flag had it out, and the appearance of the streets was very gay. Many of those in the crowd either carried small flags or had them pinned on their coats or jackets. It would be hard to estimate the size of the crowd. The streets all along the line of march were packed, and almost all of them crowded out to the depot to see the company depart. Say that almost everybody in Portsmouth and within five miles of the city were on the streets and you will be nearly right.”

“The members of Company H have reason to be proud of the demonstration in their honor. It shows that Portsmouth takes pride in them and knows that they will reflect credit and honor and glory on their native city. As the days go by we will have more and more reason to be proud of our representatives in the field. Let us hope that Company H will make a grand record and that when the war is over, and peace and its blessings are with us again, our soldier boys will all come marching home again – home to mother and father and brother and sister and scores of admiring friends.”

Company Muster Roll

The muster roll of Company H is as follows:

Captain– RS Prichard.
First Lieutenant– Frank B Pratt.
Second Lieutenant– James W Smith.
SergeantsForrest Briggs, Wilson Burns, Andrew Foster, Walter Trimmer, Russell C Newman.
Corporals– George Oldfield, Charles McGuire, Lon Smith.
Musicians– Will Fitzgerald, Earl Lawson.
Privates– Barry J Alger, Preston Anderson, AC Burke, AE Brown, JC Power Brown, JC Bratt, Mont Bybee, HW Donaldson, Reed M Davidson, Lewis E Distel, Kinney Funk, John Georgia, JW Hancock, Clif M Kinney, J Wesley Kinney, Emmet K McKeown, Ned McGuire, Henry Morrison, Elbert L Patterson, William Peebles, Alfred Richardson, CM Searl, WC Sturgill, Henry H Winters, Sam A Williams, Charles C Wilhelm, Harvey M Wills, Walter Coriell, JW Long, C Haley, Mathew W Thompson, Frank Alger, Asbury Davidson, Charles Blake, William Kelley, JL McMonagle, Charles N Reed, AG Reinert, William McElmuray, Byron Shriver, Floyd Thurman, Charles Noel, William Cooper, Robert George, Walter Stone, James F Stewart, WP Reed, Ernest Hacquart, WD McMonagle, James Gibbs, Joseph Crouse, Albert Barber, Edward Hicks, Charles Whitman, Fred Armstrong, Edward Zeck, Mitchell Evans, H Cullinan, HV Mohl, Lawrence Paymore, Ralph W Calvert, Dan Dodge, Charles Taylor, L Parker, Len McGee, Frank Valodin, JL Milstead, Carl White, James B Scott, Charles C Cole, WA Masters, Frank Ayers, WL Cole, Charles Stahl, Henry Gille, Oscar Rodgers, George E Rowe, Dan Stephens, EM Bumgardner, George J Bradshaw.”


“Everbody was barred from the armory except close relatives of members of the company.”

“Ex-members of Company H, to the number of about forty, were in the line of march. Ex-Captains CE Hard and Oscar W Newman were in the lead.”

“A large number of friends of the company went to Columbus to see them in camp. Among those who went along were Oscar Newman and JL Patterson.”

“EL Patterson, of the the Times reporters and member of Company H, will keep Times readers posted on the doings of the company boys. Other members of the company will also write letters to the Times.”

“There were four bands in the parade.”

“There was an awful jam at the N & W depot. Every inch of space about the depot was occupied by an eager, jostling throng.”

“There was not a great deal of cheering. People were too much earnest for that.”

“What memories must have been awakened in the breasts of the old vets by the stirring scenes of this morning.”

“A picture was taken of Company H by Willis & Sons this morning. These will be furnished by Willis & Sons this morning. These will be furnished to Oscar Knorr for 25 cents. He will sell the pictures for 50 cents and the additional 25 will be paid to the members of the company.”3

Company H Parade Route

Parade Route as described in transcribed article.

  1. (1892) Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from Portsmouth, Scioto County, Ohio. Sanborn Map Company, Sep. [Map] Retrieved from the Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/item/sanborn06866_003/.
  2. Henry A. Lorberg, “Huston Corner, Co. H starting for the front, 1898,” Local History Digital Collection, accessed June 23, 2021, https://www.yourppl.org/history/items/show/21984.
  3. Magnificent. (1898, April 26). Portsmouth Daily Times, pp. 4–5.
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