Do you have civil war soldiers in your tree? If so, have you encountered a Find a Grave memorial that suggests the soldier died during a battle? That’s what I thought when I looked at the Find a Grave memorial for Isaac E. Evans.

This thought was reinforced when several of the Ancestry hints for Isaac Evans suggested he served in Company H of the 25th Indiana Infantry. Armed with this information, I tried locating any information about the 25th regiment in a battle at or near Auterville, Missouri. According to the battle unit details, the 25th Infantry was stationed on duty at Ottervile until December 1861.

Fremont’s Campaign against Springfield, Mo., September 22-November 3, 1861. Duty at Otterville and at LaMine Bridge till December.

However, nothing mentioned a battle or deaths. Thus, I turned to newspapers to see what I could find about the Otterville battle. That’s when I uncovered details that suggest that Isaac Evans did not die in a battle but from disease.

The Evansville Daily Journal (Evansville, IN)
25 Oct 1861
page 2

The 25th Regiment— Recent letters form Major Foster of the 25th Indiana Regiment, state that the health of the men in that regiment is deplorable. Over three hundred are in the hospital at Otterville, and the Major says that not over 500 men are fit for active duty. The numerous friends of this gallant regiment will regret to learn that so large a proportion of the regiment will be prevented by sickness from taking part in the coming contest in South Western Missouri.
P.S. — Since writing the above, we have received a letter from a member of this regiment, written a few days since and Dated Otterville, Mo. The letter states that the whole regiment is at that point, and only two hundred men in the regiment were able to drill. Among the sick were Col. Veatch and Lt. Col. Morgan, who had left the camp and were living at the house of a Unionist. Major Foster was in command.

Evansville Daily Journal
2 Nov 1861
Page 2

From the 25th Regiment
From recent letters from the 25th Regiment Indiana Volunteers, stationed at Otterville, Mo., we learn that sickness is still prevailing in the camp to an alarming extent. Major Foster writes that, up to the date of his letter, “one had died every day for the last fifteen days.” The sufferings of the sick are described as terrible, and a call is made upon the friends of that regiment to forward immediately such supplies as would alleviate their condition. We hope that our Evansville ladies will prepare a box of articles suitable for sick men, and send it at once. Mr. Fish of the Express Company will forward packages of this character free of charge. We have received the following notice of death of one of the members of this Regiment:
Camp Anna, Near Otterville, Mo.,
October 27th, 1861
Messrs, Editors: You will please announce in your paper the death of Randolph Lob[a]her, formerly a resident of Vanderburg county, but at the time of his death a private in Company B, of the 25th Regiment Indiana Volunteers. He departed this life on the 26th inst., after a very brief illness. He was a good soldier, and was respected by all his fellow soldiers, and his loss we all deeply regret. May God give the bereft parents that consolation which will enable them to bear their loss with Christian fortitude; and although they are separated here on earth, may they have a happy reunion in that clime where there is no more separation.
C. C. Waring, O. S.
Our Sick in Missouri
Col. D. G. Rose arrived in Indianapolis on Thursday and reports he has had the sick belonging to the Indiana regiments in Missouri taken from Otterville, Tipton, Georgetown, Sedalia, Jefferson City, and other places to St. Louis, where they are now receiving every attention it is possible to bestow upon them. They have been placed in a comfortable and wholesome hospital, and are doing much better than where they have been heretofore.

Joliet Signal (Joliet, Illinois)
5 Nov 1861
page 2

The War in Missouri
Special Dispatch to the Chicago Times
St. Louis, Oct. 31
The sick at Otterville are being removed as rapidly as possible to St. Louis.

Indiana State Sentinel
6 Nov 1861
page 2

We find the following in the St. Louis Democrat of the 31st of October:
Thirty-six patients were brought in from Otterville last evening by the Pacific road, of whom seventeen were members of the 25th Indiana, 2 of the 22d Indiana, two of the 9th Missouri; of the 1st, 2d and 6th Missouri regiments one each, and one of the 1st Iowa regiment. Altogether, there are now under treatment at the Clay General Military Hospital four hundred and seven patients. Of those who have lately been admitted, the largest number are afflicted with typhoid or intermittent fever. It is said that about three hundred men of the 26th Indiana Regiment (Col. Veach’s) are now laid up in Otterville, with measles, under the general charge of Dr. Younghand. The disease made it appearance in the regiment when encamped south of the fair grounds, a few weeks ago.

Lancaster Gazette (Lancaster, Ohio)
7 Nov 1861
page 1

Important from Price’s Army
Tipton, Oct. 28

At Otterville there is still quite a number of sick — 500 of the Twenty-fifth Indiana alone.

Jonesboro Gazette
9 Nov 1861
page 1

Sick Soldiers at Otterville, Mo
The St. Louis Democrat of Wednesday furnishes the following information concerning the sick soldiers of the Union army, left at Otterville:
From Otterville, between Tipton and Sedalia, on the line of the Pacific Railroad, we have unquestionable information relative to the condition of the sick and disabled of the army, necessarily left there. — They are some nine hundred in number and are quartered in the houses of the town, with the most meagre accommodations and inadequate attention. Many of them are crowded together, and others are poorly sheltered from the weather. All are deplorably in want of the necessaries of sickness. Beds and bedding are scanty, and poor in quality. Much distress is occasioned by these lamentable deficiencies, and a considerable loss of life must ensue unless a remedy is promptly applied. It is clearly imperative duty of the government to attend at once to these sufferers, and administer relief. But humanity and patriotism alike appeal to the citizens of St. Louis to afford immediate succor to their defenders in distress.

This event was even reported in England!

Nottingham Daily Guardian (Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, England)
12 Nov 1861
page 3

Reports reach us from Missouri that there is much suffering among the troops west of Syracuse. There are 700 sick at Otterville, and 175 at Georgetown, for whom neither nurse, medicine or other comfort is provided.

While I haven’t located an obituary for Isaac Evans and do not have his military/pension file, it appears that Isaac Evans may have been one of the soldiers who was ill at Otterville.

2 thoughts on “Otterville

  1. So many died of disease during the Civil War but, typically I think of dysentery, typhoid, etc. from bad water and poor sanitation, not MEASELS… We forget how contagious viral diseases can be until you read about it afflicting 300 men in one regiment. What a nightmare that must have been. Thanks for sharing this, it was very informative. I had a great-grandfather, 4 2x great-grandfathers, and 1 3x great-grandfather serve during the Civil War, and all amazingly survived!

  2. Pingback: Friday’s Family History Finds | Empty Branches on the Family Tree

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