Monday, February 08, 2016

The Civil War Journal of John M. Laurie - Part 1

John M. Laurie an ordinary citizen that was put in extraordinary circumstances. He was born about 1839 in Pennsylvania. As with many of our immigrants from Ohio he arrived here in Brown County after the Civil War. John served in the Ohio Volunteers - Sept 28, 1861 to Oct. 12, 1864 Company F 34th Regiment of the Ohio Volunteers Infantry - Chapmanville, West Virginia. From his obituary it says that he served three years in the Civil War, marched with Sherman from Atlanta to the sea, and for a number of months endured horrors as a prisoner of war at Libby and Belle Isle. He was discharged at Columbus, Ohio.
After his service, he moved to Booneville, Missouri. John had a land-grant application for 40 acres in Booneville, Missouri dated 8 July 1885. Signed by Rutherford B. Hayes, President; William H. Crook, Secretary. He moved his family to Indiana about 1875 and resided at RR1, Mt. Liberty, Indiana near the Brown and Bartholomew county line.

John Laurie married Elizabeth Little in Missouri in 1867 and they had six children: Albert “Bert”, Maud, Frank, Clyde, Mary, and Annie. Some of you may remember Bert Laurie who was the animal caretaker at the Brown County State Park. Albert Laurie was the recipient of the following document written by his father. Known as “Bert” Laurie, he farmed and lived on Spearsville Road outside of Beanblossom for many years until his death in 1962.
The following document was given to his son, Paul, and after his death, since there are no children, his wife, Juanita M. (Pat) Laurie is in possession of the original document detailing a fascinating historical report about the Civil War and the engagements that John Laurie encountered. Since her father-in-law, Bert Laurie, was well-known in Brown County, she wanted to make a gift of this document to the Brown County Historical Society. Please note, the memoranda is copied verbatim (misspellings, etc.) as taken from the original hand-written copy. This is a transcription of his journal kept while on the march by John M. Laurie.


Camp Piatt, May 1, 1864
We left Camp Toland this morning about ten o’clock and arrived here about eight o’clock. Altho the distance between here and Charleston is but ten miles. Yet we, that is Duffies Brigade, had to be ferried over the river. A tedious operation lasting over four hours. Whiskey seems to be very plenty and not a few of the boys are mighty inebriated. We are in the first Brigade composed of the 2nd & 3rd Virginia Cavalry and 34th O.V., General Duffie commanding.

Peytona, May 2nd
Arrived here in good time. Had supper cooked before dark. I was one of a detail to remain at Piatt and get cartridges. The Q.M. wouldn’t let us have them. We got soaking wet while waiting for them. Then started to rejoin our Regt., and didn’t catch up untill well within two miles of this place. The Column didn’t leave Piatt untill late in the day and they rode fast to make up lost time. Rained last night, all day today and drizzling rain now. Very comfortable, it is.
Near Chapmanville, May 3rd
Today we passed along the old route and are now near the scene of the first engagement our Regt. had with the Rebles Sept. 26th 1861. I hope we may be as successful on this expedition.
(John M. Laurie’s journals go on for many more pages. More to come in later blogs.)