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Elijah Wallick – 102nd Ohio Infantry, Co. G

Rank: Private, promoted to Corporal

Place of enlistment: Holmes County, Ohio

Mustered into Federal service: September 6, 1862

Service time: 2 Years, 9 months, 11 days

Born: April, 1831 – Holmes County, Ohio

Age at enlistment: 31

Height: 5’8”  light hair, brown eyes

Civilian occupation: Farmer

Family Lineage

Elijah, son of Andrew, son of “Bedford County” Michael, son of Hans Michael and Esther Wallick

Elijah Wallick was a grandson of “Bedford County” Michael and the son of Andrew Wallick.  Andrew had been born, like all of his siblings, in Bedford County, Pennsylvania, and by 1830 he had migrated west to become a farmer in what is now Holmes County, Ohio.  Here Elijah was born, raised and grew into manhood.  He was about thirty years old when the political union of our nation was torn apart by the Confederate attack on Ft. Sumter.  On August 8, 1862, Elijah joined the Federal Army and he would serve his country for three years in the western theater of the war.  His cousin, David H. Wallick, also from Homes County, served with Elijah in the 102nd Ohio Volunteer Regiment.  They were about the same age and could have had a close relationship since they enlisted together and were in the same company.  However, on September 23, 1864, destiny led them in two different directions.  Elijah was one of 350 men who were detached from two regiments of his brigade, the 102nd Ohio and 18th Michigan, and were sent of help the besieged Federal forces posted at Fort Henderson in Athens, Alabama.  Why Elijah was part of this relief force and cousin David remained in camp with the rest of their regiment is unknown.  For some reason only 20 men from Company G were selected to be part of this expedition.

General Nathan Bedford ForrestFort Henderson had been under attack for several days by the very elusive “Wizard of the Saddle”, General Nathan Bedford Forrest (he is the same commander who captured William Wallick in May of 1863).  As a result,  soldiers from the United States Colored Troops, who occupied the fort, were forced to surrender to General Forrest.  Elijah and the 102nd arrived thirty minutes after the fort had been evacuated and they, too, after a brief but fierce firefight, were forced to surrender.  The men were eventually taken to the prison camp at Cahaba, Alabama, where they were “guests” of the Confederacy the last six months of the war.  Elijah became very ill while incarcerated in Cahaba.  His service record from the National Archives tells us that he was one of the first to be paroled and immediately sent to the Union hospital at Camp Fisk, Vicksburg, Mississippi.   He was diagnosed to have scurvy and had also developed a severe case of rheumatism.  Elijah was transferred to several hospitals during the last months of the war.  On April 9, 1865, while Elijah was in the hospital at Camp Fisk, General Lee surrendered his forces to General Grant and with the collapse of the Confederacy all of Elijah’s compatriots from Cahaba Prison were released to begin their journey home.

At first glance it seems unfortunate that Elijah’s prison experiences had so broken his health that he was unable of celebrate with his comrades their release from captivity and the end of the war.  However, the fact that he was so ill and needed to be hospitalized may have helped save his life.  Had he been well enough to stay with his captured brethren he most likely would have been on board the ill-fated steamboat, Sultana.  This vessel’s horrific demise is still considered the greatest maritime disaster in all United States history.  Elijah was very fortunate to have been so ill that he was paroled early and separated from his brothers-in-arms during the last days of Cahaba Prison.

                             Elijah Escapes the Sultana Disaster!   

At the end of the war steamboat captains received from the U.S. Government five dollars per enlisted man and ten dollars per officer to transport them north and on to home.  However, some of the captains offered army officers a kick-back of $1. 15 for every soldier put on their boat, thus resulting in many boats stuffed way beyond their capacity with passengers.  The Sultana was just such a vessel as it began its voyage April 24, 1865, and steamed out of Vicksburg, Mississippi, heading to Memphis, Tennessee.  Built in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1863, it was registered to carry only 376 passengers.  On its departure from Vicksburg the Sultana was carrying over 2,400 soldiers, many of them friends of Elijah who were captured with him and refugees from Cahaba prison camp.  Every available compartment was jam-packed with soldiers who hardly had an inch of open space on the decks to maneuver.  On April 26, the Sultana made a stop at Memphis for fuel and supplies and then continued its journey up the waters of the Mississippi.  Early the next morning, around 2:00AM and seven miles north of Memphis, one of her boilers exploded, causing a great fire to break out and the boat to sink.

This photograph of the Sultana, which shows her decks overcrowded with passengers, was taken less than 24 hours before she exploded on the Mississippi River.  Elijah would have been loaded on to this boat had he not been so seriously ill.

Those not killed by the explosion or trapped inside the burning boat jumped into the waters in an attempt to reach the shore.  The Mississippi was near flood stage that spring and the passengers and crew found themselves rushed down steam by an incredibly fast current.  Those who were not excellent swimmers drowned and many of those who did not drown died of hypothermia form the cold water.  Over 1,700 passengers perished that night while 500 more made it to shore and were taken to hospitals, many of them dying after a few days.  Unfortunately, the tragic accident received little coverage in the newspapers at the time due to all the events surrounding President Lincoln’s assassination.  John Wilks Booth had been cornered and killed the day before the Sultana’s sinking and the Presidential funeral procession was winding its way through the American heartland towards Springfield, Illinois. 

Had Elijah not been so seriously ill upon his release form prison he very well could have been another casualty in the Sultana tragedy.  Had he been on the Sultana in his weakened state he most assuredly would not have survived the icy water of the Mississippi River.  In this case, Elijah’s broken health just may have saved his life.  Many soldiers form the 102nd Regiment weren’t so lucky.  Official records state that a least eighty-one soldier from Elijah’s regiment perished in the dark waters so the Mississippi that night.  Some fellow POWs escaped; most did not.  In the book, The Sultana by Jerry O. Potter, Elijah is listed as having been on board the steamboat the night of the explosion and survived.  It is an error.  From Elijah’s service records it is clear that he was never a passenger on the Sultana.

After Elijah’s extended stays in various army hospitals did eventually return home to Homes County and later married Olive Gibbens.  They had one daughter, Rose, and relocated to Iowa in the late 1860s.  They were part of the Wallick family’s post-Civil War mass migration out of Holmes County and to the western lands.  Elijah died May 8, 1922 at ninety-one years old in Ladora, Iowa.  He lives farther into the 20th Century than any other Wallick veteran of the Civil War.   Elijah Wallick with the 102nd Ohio Volunteer Infantry.


AUG 9   Elijah and cousin David H. Wallick go into Millersburg, Ohio and enlist in the Union Army.  They agree to donate the next three years of their lives to Uncle Sam and the United States Government.  At this time Elijah is living in Killbuck, Township, home also to another soldier cousin, Henry M. Wallick of the 67th Ohio Infantry.  A total of five Wallick men from Holmes County serve in the Federal Army during the Civil War.  Elijah and David H. are organized  into Company G of the 102nd Ohio Volunteer Infantry at Camp Mansfield, Ohio.   While in camp the regiment becomes known for their ‘gentlemanly qualities," not a flattering reputation for men preparing for war.

SEP 6-22   Elijah is mustered into Federal service on September 6th in Covington, KY.  He will be posted in and around the defenses of Cincinnati, OH, through September 22 as a result of the Confederate invasion in southern Kentucky.

SEP 22- Oct 6   The 102nd Regiment is moved to Louisville, KY, to bolster the defenses of that city in response to Confederate General Braxton Bragg’s move towards the Ohio River.

The 102nd Regiment is moved to Louisville, KY, to bolster the defenses of that city in response to Confederate General Braxton Bragg’s move towards the Ohio River.


OCT 5-6   The men of the 102nd are assigned guard duty of the brigade wagon trains while pursuing General Bragg.

OCT 9   Battle of Perryville   The 102nd is held in reserve and sees no action but they are close enough to hear the sounds of battle.

OCT 10 – DEC 30   After the Battle of Perryville, Elijah and his regiment move to Bowling Green, KY, where they are given the responsibility of security on the rail line from Bowling Green to Nashville, TN.  On December 19th they are moved to Russellville, TN, and from there to Clarksville.


JAN – SEP  Elijah spends  almost ten months in the vicinity of Clarksville, TN, building bridges, forwarding supplies and providing a secure base of operations for the Union Army.

JUL – AUG  Elijah is detailed as an honor guard.

SEP 26 – 30   The 102nd is called on to help repel a Confederate cavalry raid by General Wheeler.

  Elijah and his regiment are moved to Nashville, TN, for further rear echelon duty.


JAN – APR  The 102nd remains in Nashville, where they protect one of the Union’s most vital supply bases.

APR 26 – JUN 6   Elijah’s primary responsibility is to help guard the Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad from Normandy to Dechard.  Thousands of men were need throughout the war to secure the southern railroads and protect them from attacks by southern guerrillas and cavalrymen.  On June 6th they cross over the Cumberland Mountains.

JUN – AUG   The 102nd is part of the defensive line along the Tennessee River, from Stevenson, AL, to Seven Mile Island.

SEP 1-15
   The regiment has duty protecting the Tennessee Railroad from Decatur, AL, to Columbia, TN. 

 SEP 23-24   Elijah is captured and becomes a prisoner-of-war.   Elijah, with a detachment of soldiers from the 102nd Ohio, is sent to help relieve Fort Henderson, in Athens, AL, and is captured by General Nathan Bedford Forrest.  Here is an Account of their capture at Fort Henderson from War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies: 

“About the 20th of September the Confederate cavalry, under General Nathan Bedford Forrest, crossed the Tennessee River near Waterloo, AL, and appeared in front of Athens, Alabama.  Considerable skirmishing took place and the garrison, occupied by the 106th, 110th, and 111th Colored Troops and commanded by Colonel Campbell, withdrew into the fort.  By night-fall the town was completely invested and the quartermaster and commissary buildings were destroyed by the Confederates.  On the morning of the 24th the Confederates opened fire on the fort with a 12-pounder battery, firing from two different directions, north and west, which was answered by the artillery from the garrison.  Later two flags of truce were received demanding a surrender, which was declined by Colonel Campbell.  When he was requested to grant Major-General Forrest a personal interview, he complied to meet with the general.  At this interview Colonel Campbell allowed himself to become convinced by the Confederate commander that it was useless to contend against the larger superior forces of the enemy (This was untrue.  General Forrest had his troops simply march in a circle to give the impression that he commanded a much larger force.  He used this rue a number of times during the war.  William Wallick was captured when his commanding officer was similarly deceived).  The garrison at the time had overwhelming numbers to General Forrest’s Cavalry.  Thirty minutes after the evacuation for surrender of the fort, re-enforcements consisting of the 102nd Ohio and the 18th Michigan regiments arrived, and after a severe fight were also forced to yield.”

The historical marker for Fort Henderson is located next to Trinity Congregational Church in Athens, Alabama.  The structure was a five pointed fortress that covered many acres of the surrounding neighborhood.
Site of Ft. Henderson, Athens, AL

                                                   Historical Marker Inscription

Elijah is captured and will spend the next six months in a warehouse that the Confederacy has converted into a Federal Prison.

   Elijah is held a prisoner-of-war in Cahaba, AL. 

The town of Cahaba, in central Alabama, was Alabama’s first state capital from 1820-1826.  Frequent flooding of the Cahaba and Alabama Rivers eventually forced the relocation of the capital to Tuscaloosa in 1826, then to Montgomery twenty years later.  The town of “Old Cahaba” is nothing more than a minor tourist attraction now.  The antebellum river town died at the end of the nineteenth century but has recently been reclaimed as an historic park.  Old Cahaba Archeological Park” can be visited today and is located about fourteen miles southwest of Selma, AL.  The prison was an unfinished warehouse owned by Colonel Samuel Hill but locally called Castle Morgan in honor of Confederate raider John Hunt Morgan.  Nothing of the prison has survived, only its old location has been identified in the historic park.

                                       Castle Morgan or Cahaba Federal Prison Camp
                                      At one point this facility held over 5,000 prisoners.
Cahaba Federal Prison Camp


   Elijah is still being held captive in Cahaba Federal Prison.  Conditions are harsh, as are all Civil War prison camps.  Cahaba is first used as an overflow for prisoners being sent to the infamous Andersonville Prison, in southern Georgia.  Elijah could have been a prisoner at that hell-hole.  Although the living conditions at Cahaba are not nearly as brutal as Andersonville, Cahaba is still very overcrowded and the prisoners greatly suffer  from poor food and exposure.

   Elijah is admitted to the prison hospital with typhoid fever.  He will suffer from a variety of diseases while a POW.

   Severe flooding of the Alabama and Cahaba Rivers add to the prisoners' misery and force many to stand for hours in knee deep water.  Some men take turns sitting on the high bunk beds and support beams of the old warehouse prison.

This is the site of Castle Morgan, the converted warehouse and alternate name for Cahaba Federal Prison.  It is located in the Cahaba Archeological Park, a few miles south of Selma, Alabama.  Here Elijah and many other Federal soldiers suffered incarceration and many privations for the last six months of the war.
Site of Castle Morgan, Cahaba Federal Prison

MAR 16
   About this time the first group of soldiers from Cahaba begin their journey to Camp Fisk near Vicksburg, MS.  Camp Fisk is a parole camp for Union and Confederate prisoners who await exchange.  Elijah is one of the first paroled due to his ill health.

MAR 30
   Elijah is admitted to Camp Fisk Army Hospital with scurvy and severe rheumatism.  He will remain hospitalized for the next few months and, thankfully, be spared the agony his fellow prisoners-of-war will experience on the steamboat Sultana.

   Elijah is sent to the army’s General Hospital at Jefferson Barracks, MO, near the city of St. Louis.


APR 24   Those who were captured with Elijah and suffered with him in Cahaba Prison have been paroled and are loaded on board the steamboat Sultana to begin their journey back home.  The Sultana is delayed in its departure due to a leak in one of her boilers.  The repair is hastily made and the boat departs up river for Memphis.  The overcrowded boat carries six times its recommended limit of passengers; over 2,400 persons are packed on board.

 APR 27- 2:00AM
   The Sultana explodes in a fireball of flame seven miles north of Memphis with over 1,700 passengers killed and hundreds of others burned and injured while attempting to reach the shoreline.  A great many drown due to their weakened state as prisoners-of war and the frigid temperatures of the Mississippi.  More people drown this night then in the sinking of the steamship Titanic.

The sinking of the Sultana

                                         A fate Elijah was fortunate to have missed.
                                    Many friends and comrades perished that night.

MAY 25
   Elijah is transferred from Jefferson Barrack Army Hospital to Benton Barrack Army Hospital in St. Louis, MO.  He will stay here one week before going home to Ohio.

JUN 1   Elijah is sent to Camp Chase in Columbus, OH.

JUN 19   The 102nd Ohio Volunteer Regiment is mustered out of Federal service in Decatur, AL without Elijah.  He is officially mustered out of service while in the army hospital at Camp Chase under Government Order #77.  This order states that “all volunteers who need no further treatment in army hospitals are to be honorably discharged from service with immediate payment and all prisoners-of-war treated the same.”  After months of hospitalizations and separation from his regiment, Elijah is finally allowed to go home.


David H    102nd OH (same regiment & company)
Daniel          20th OH
David        139th OH 
Henry         67th OH
Michael       27th IN

Elijah Wallick- Ladora, Iowa

                                                                 Elijah Wallick- Ladora, Iowa
                                                              His inscription reads:
                                                                    E. Wallick
                                                      Co. G 102nd Reg Ohio Vol

Song- Lorena

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