Monday, May 23, 2011

Charles Gross and the "Bloody Tinth"

Civil War Monument at Spring Grove
According to a record in Charles' Civil War Pension Index, Charles was born in Wuerttemberg, Germany and was a resident of Cincinnati for 21 years at the time of his death in 1879.  Assuming that this record is correct, Charles was born about 1842 and came to Cincinnati about 1858 at the age of 16.  By the age of 18, he had volunteered for the Civil War. 

His regiment was nicknamed the "Bloody Tinth" -- not a typo. The regiment was mainly comprised of Irish units, but there were two units made up of German-immigrants.  It is well-documented that there were numerous outbreaks of fighting between the Irish and Germans during training at Camp Dennison. By the time they left Camp Dennison under the command of William Lytle, however, they were a cohesive unit.  The entire regiment had a reputation of being fearless fighters -- thus, the "Bloody Tinth."

I'd love to know what would motivate a newly-arrived immigrant to sign up to fight a Civil War in his new country within a couple of years of arrival.  Was it a lack of jobs?  A desire for adventure?  Initially, it was a strongly-held belief that the war would be of short duration.

The unit was mustered in on June 3, 1861 for three years of service.  Soon marching orders came, and by June 24th, the unit had crossed the Ohio River and was on the march to what is now West Virginia. For a full description of the unit's activity, click here.

On September 10, 1861 the "Bloody Tinth" was part of three Brigades under the Command of General Rosencrans.  They engaged in the Battle of Carnifex Ferry.  As a family historian, I cannot establish what Charles' role may or may not have been in this battle.  The only thing I can ascertain for sure is that he was in the area.  As noted in the previous post, Charles was reported absent as early as October.  It is noted that he was left in a hospital in Charleston, West Virginia by November.  It seems as if he remained in the hospital until his unit returned to Cincinnati where he was immediately placed in the hospital, discharged, and given a Surgeon's Certificate of Disability.

Charles suffered from "Bright's Disease."  The term is no longer in use.  According to Wikipedia,
The symptoms are usually severe. Back pain, phantom testicular pain[9][10] in males, elevated blood pressure, vomiting and fever commonly signal an attack. Edema, varying in degree from slight puffiness of the face to an accumulation of fluid sufficient to distend the whole body, and sometimes severely restricted breathing, is very common. Urine is reduced in quantity, is of dark, smoky or bloody color, and has higher levels of albumin (albuminuria). (Note: Links are not active).
All of this occurred before Charles was 20 years old.  In less than a year of volunteering to serve in the military, Charles had become chronically ill and had been discharged from the military.  But once again, my very existence was dependent on him.  So there must be more to the story.

1 comment:

  1. I think it may have been to fit in...the old you are either with us or against us thinking.


Join the conversation. Comments are appreciated and keep me motivated.