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Shirley G. Hodges
Remembering Our Military Ancestors During This Holiday Season
Published: 22 December, 2011
By Shirley Gage Hodges   Biography & Archived Articles

As we are approaching the holiday season we are thinking about our families that were alive during the time of the American Civil War and how they were affected by their loved ones involvement in the war.

Much of the research on this family has been done by my husband Clarence's cousin, Kit Stewart, of Sequim, Washington. We are grateful for her willingness to share this information with us.

The Hodges family faced the holidays in 1862 with a lot of concern and worry for family members. Luther and Lurene Vashti Hodges had two sons who had enlisted in the Thirtieth Indiana Infantry, Sept. 24, 1861, Perry and Cyrus C. They were not the only Hodges men who had enlisted to fight for their cause. Perry Hodges step-son, Albert VanRensselaer Cole was in 4th Mich. infantry 1860? -1863. Josiah T. Hodges Co. H 14th Ohio Vol. enlisted 4/27/61, then Co. H 86th Ohio Vol. in June 16, 1863 out 1864. .He was the son of Hiram Hodges. Josiah Peter Hodges of Co. H 14th Ohio Vol. enlisted 4/22/1861 and was out 4 months later at end of tour.

Perry's story was quite remarkable. Perry had been married and had one son, Malcolm Hodges. His wife, Nancy, died in 1849. Perry married Lurena in 1851. By the time that Perry enlisted they had 6 children. Perry worked as a carpenter but found it difficult to provide for the family.

A wealthy Ft. Wayne man offered to support Caroline and the children if Perry would take his place in the army. Perry accepted his offer so that he could provide for his family. Sometime later the wealthy man left Ft. Wayne, leaving Perry's family destitute. No one really knows how the family coped during this period but they managed to survive. One of the grandson's, George Wain Hodges later wrote, "I think it is written in the records of the Almighty that the Hodges of Your Father's family were never to be prosperous."

Kit had the following letter that Perry Hodges wrote to Caroline. It was post marked 17 Dec. 1861. Caroline was at Waterloo City, Dekalb Co., Indiana. Where things could not be read I have indicated this with ?
    Camp Nevin, KY 1861

    Dear Wife:

    Again on the sick list today I have got a very bad cold. I have been busy night and day ever since we have been in this camp. Our company went out on ? guard about three ?. We came back I was detailed as Captain of the guard for the night - no relief so I got no sleep for eight hours while we were on ? one of our men shot another through mistake. Yesterday the regiments were bringing General ? our ? There is in this camp three brigades; one regiment of cavalry, two batteries of light artillery, one brigade nine miles south of us as pickets to ? the guard. The ? are getting scarce about here.

    four o'clock p.m.

    You must write as often as you can. You will have to pay the postage both ways as we have no chance to get stamps here. Tell ? that I have sent him two great long letters so I think it is most time I got one from him. I want to hear all the news.

    This camp is called Nevin after the man that owns the land. A very wealthy man and a good union man. He owns four thousand acres all in one plantation. He gives us the use of the place for our camp and all the fences for our fuel. The house where President Lincoln was born is only two miles from here. I have been to see it. Tell Sarah and Camilla to write. Direct your letters to me care Capt. Hawley, 30th regiment, Ind. Volunteers, Camp Nevin, Warden Co., Kentucky.

    There is 10 regiments expected here this week which will increase our force here to twenty-five thousand men when we shall make a move farther south. We have had very pleasant weather since we have been here. This morning was the first ice here. Cy? is well and enjoys himself the best of anybody I ever saw. We expect to be paid two months wages next month. I shall send it home as soon as I get it, you must do the best you can. Take good care of the children to keep the boys in school. I shall send you every cent of money that I can. The boys are all well and in good spirits. Give my respect to all. I'm yours with love.

    Perry Hodges
The Battle of Stones River began on the last day of 1862 and was one of the bloodiest conflicts of the Civil War. The battle produced important military and political gains for the Union. Like many other families this battle changed the Hodges family's lives forever.

Perry was involved in the heavy fighting. His whole left side took the brunt of a shell burst. He lost part of his shinbone and was paralyzed and deafened by the concussion. He was reported missing-in-action and lay on the battlefield for a night and a day before being rescued. He was unconscious most of the time on the battlefield. He went into a field hospital and almost lost his leg. Apparently he lucked out at the MD he got, an advanced one that didn't automatically amputate. That is most likely what saved him.

We are not sure if it was his brother or cousin who came back through the lines and found him and carried him out. He had cousins in other units who were also near that area. Maybe he didn't want to admit knowing who rescued him in case the feds said it was a family matter instead of just a service rescue. It might have messed up his pension Kit has examined several of their pension files but has not found any depositions that clears it up.

Perry was given a disability discharge on March 9, 1863 for "paraplegia of left leg". He returned home on crutches, partially deaf and crippled. We can only imagine what a horrible, helpless feeling he experienced when he returned home and discovered his family abandoned and virtually starving and he was not strong enough to support them.

He applied for a pension and was awarded $6.00 per month. He and Lurena had four additional children. This family always struggled to survive and never truly recovered from the after effects of the war.

We have been able to visit their gravesites in Kenesaw, NB and pay our respects to them.

Perry's brother, Cyrus, was injured 18 Feb 1862 in Cave City Kentucky while camped at Bells Tavern and broke his leg. They left him in the ruin of a farmhouse wall while they went after the Rebs. He was discharged July 16, 1862, for disability.

As we approach the holidays think of your family members who have served in the military. If you know their stories make sure that you share them with other family members.

May you and yours have a Merry Christmas and Happy and Healthy New Year.

Until next time :)

Shirley Hodges

To read back issues of Shirley Hodges' articles, visit her biography & archived Articles

Editor's Note: Shirley Hodges is the author of the popular Guide to United States Census, 1790-1930:

BOOK - Guide to United States Census, 1790-1930
By Shirley Gage Hodges
Published by Global Heritage Press, Milton
Guide to the United States Census, 1790-1930 explains what the United States census records are, what information they contain and how to use each census. Each individual year of the Federal Census between 1790 and 1930 (census were compiled every 10 years) is explained in detail. This guide is designed to help the census novice and intermediate researcher come to grips with this valuable genealogical research tool. Experts will also find this guide useful.
ISBN 978-1-897446-01-0      More information

coil-bound.....$14.95 (Canadian Dollars)
Check price in your currency
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The Merivale Cemeteries
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